The Dunedin City Council has backed away from taking over
the city's public transport network next year, amid concerns
over what it describes as ''substantial risks'' from planned
bus system changes.
The Otago Regional Council, which runs the system, says that
means it may have to look again at the offer it made to hand
DCC staff will recommend to an infrastructure service
committee tomorrow putting off a target date for the transfer
ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said: ''Things may have changed
for both councils by that time.''
He said if the recommendation was approved, ''we'll look at
it with respect to the offer we made, and the reason behind
the DCC's decision''.
In April, the ORC approached the DCC with an offer to
transfer control of the system from July 1, 2015.
In May, city councillors voted 11-4 to support the transfer,
In the same month, the ORC refused to release $300,000
funding from a transport reserve fund for the DCC to study
The latest DCC report on the issue said while the idea of
the transfer was ''very positive'', the potential impact of a
draft regional public transport plan the ORC was undertaking
''may be significant''.
That plan, required under the Land Transport Management Act,
and necessary for government funding, opened for public
submissions this week.
It would include faster and more direct routes away from
smaller residential streets, and a central-city hub for a
system set to cost more than $100 million over the next
Written by DCC transport planning manager Sarah Connolly, the
report said the cost of the plan would not be known until
Because of that, ''the DCC would be open to substantial risks
if the delegated-responsibility work for public transport
proceeds within the current time frames'', Ms Connolly said.
The draft plan may result in a ''significant'' impact on
''There is a possibility that patronage will decline if the
new network was implemented poorly, or if it was poorly
received by the public.''
In the report, Ms Connolly also noted a New Zealand Transport
Agency policy expecting less reliance on public subsidy, and
a growth in patronage, and a new national ticketing system
that might mean ''a significant cost''.
She suggested staff from both councils work together on the
changes to the draft regional public transport plan.
ORC chief executive Peter Bodeker said the city was entitled
to its view on how risky the changes were.
Mr Bodeker said the handover might end up in the middle of a
three-year long-term plan cycle, and that ''may or may not be
the best thing''.
If the DCC voted to defer the handover, the ORC would ''have
to consider whether that suits''.
''There's no panic around making that decision.''
The ORC had a budget for the bus service in its annual plan
for this financial year, and would continue ''business as
Mr Woodhead said the ORC would have to ''wait and see'' what
the DCC's decision was.