Public bus service to go commercial

The public bus service in Queenstown will be operated fully commercially from March 16.

The Otago Regional Council introduced the public bus service three years ago with the aim of it becoming a commercial service.

Council corporate services director Wayne Scott said the services run by Connectabus would become fully commercial in March.

The successful outcome was due to significant capital investment by contractor Connectabus, the regional council and New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).

''All credit to the contractor, he has the enthusiasm to meet the target.''

The service had been subsidised by the council and NZTA for the past two years.

Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said there was some scepticism when the service was introduced at how successful reaching the commercial goal would be, but the contractor had proved those doubts wrong.

''It's fantastic. He's a very good operator.''

A new timetable would be distributed later this month and come into effect on March 1 with services being operated on a completely commercial basis from March 16.

Mr Scott said all areas being provided with services would continue to have them, but on a timetable that was commercially viable.

The operator rationalised the provision of services so Arthurs Point would have two per day from Arrowtown.

The Otago Regional Council's only involvement would be through the joint ticketing system. As part of the launch of the services, a newly branded Go Card would be released for the Wakatipu Basin. The Go Card could also be used in Dunedin and Invercargill.

- rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz