The St John Wakatipu Health Shuttle is taking a break for
Christmas after clocking up more mileage transporting people
to their health-related appointments and bringing them home
than any other shuttle in the South Island.
St John South Island community care manager Pam Hall said the
shuttles in Wakatipu, Central Otago, Invercargill to Dunedin,
Mid Canterbury and North Canterbury ''have had a great year''
and collectively travelled 273,940km - the equivalent of
travelling from Queenstown to London more than 14 times.
The $80,000 Wakatipu shuttle was launched just over one year
ago and has driven 109,650km on return trips from bus stops
in Queenstown, Frankton and Arrowtown down to health
professionals in Invercargill.
The Wakatipu shuttle has travelled almost twice as far as its
nearest neighbour, serving Central Otago, which travelled
The 12-seat 2012 Ford Transit was the fourth shuttle to hit
the road in the South Island with uniformed and first-aid
trained volunteer drivers.
Clients are invited to give on average $30 for the service,
or any donation, but those who cannot afford to give are not
St John Wakatipu area executive officer Jessica Patch said
the shuttle averaged 28 clients a month in its first year of
The service was supported by donations from the community,
plus substantial funding from Delta Utilities and Perpetual
Miss Patch thanked the 26 volunteers on roster for their hard
work in keeping the service on the highway.
Mrs Hall said all volunteers would rest over Christmas.
December 20 would be the the last day of operation for the
Services would resume on January 13.
''St John Health Shuttles, which are proudly supported by
Four Square Supermarkets in the South Island, provide an
important service to people who may have transportation
issues and are unable to get to health-related
appointments,'' Mrs Hall said.
''We'd like to wish all of our clients, and the community
groups we work with, a merry Christmas and a fantastic and
relaxing New Year.''