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File photo
The Dunedin bus hub. Photo: ODT files
Dunedin's bus network has rebounded from the effects of Covid-19, a new report shows.

But the same cannot be said for Queenstown’s bus service.

A report on the Otago Regional Council’s Orbus network performance between January and April this year was provided to councillors during a data and information committee meeting this week.

It showed that Dunedin bus patronage was 32% higher than the corresponding time last year, but that was mainly due to Covid-19 restrictions then.

Transport implementation lead Julian Phillips said it was misleading to compare the figures with this time last year, as the accumulation of various levels of lockdowns, a period of free fares and reduced Covid-19 timetables affected patronage.

Instead, comparing usage with the corresponding time in 2019, pre-Covid, was a better comparison.

Those results showed patronage had only dropped by 1% this April, compared with April 2019.

That was indicative of the Dunedin network’s strong recovery post-Covid, Mr Phillips said.

Cr Michael Deaker also said it was an ‘‘excellent’’ result.

However, fare revenue was significantly lower due to the effect of the $2 flat-fare trial, which began late last year.

Transport manager Garry Maloney told councillors it was a lot more expensive to have $2 fares than expected.

There had been many suggestions through public consultations about bringing in a $1 flat fare, but the council would need to find ‘‘millions of dollars’’ to do that, he said.

Meanwhile, Queenstown’s public transport remained significantly affected by Covid-19.

Patronage was down 30% between January and April this year, compared to the corresponding time last year.

However, there was some success as the resort town’s more commuter- and residential-oriented bus routes had a patronage increase of between 31% and 86%.



It would be good to know for context what a 32% increase in patronage means in terms of bus usage - does it mean a rise from 6% to 8%, or from 60% to 80%?



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