Boost for weekend bus routes

Bus travel into Dunedin's city centre at weekends will become more direct and frequent with the introduction of new Saturday bus services, the Otago Regional Council says.

The latest improvements to the city's Gobus services will take effect next Saturday.

Changes will mean most Saturday services will run to hourly schedules.

Seven loop services will be replaced with 13 direct services on Saturdays, in most cases, following weekday routes.

Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said the council was regularly reviewing services as contracts expired and the current improvements recognised bus services in Dunedin needed to keep pace with people's lifestyles.

"We are making a significant investment of about $1 million a year to create substantially improved services, which will provide a lot more convenience for Saturday users who want to come into the city."

However, he warned services that were not used would be withdrawn, as was happening with Mosgiel's express service. Three outward afternoon services would end on January 28.

Most of the new routes travelled from suburbs to the city centre - either to the Octagon or University of Otago - and returned to the suburb of origin.

Three routes, now weekday only, will gain Saturday services: Ocean Grove, Bradford-Belleknowes-City Rise, and Concord-Kaikorai Valley.

Routes to Mosgiel, Fairfield, Abbotsford and Brighton will gain additional services. Services to Brockville, Halfway Bush and St Kilda will become separate routes and Harington Point, Portobello and Port Chalmers will get improved Saturday services.

All Port Chalmers services on Saturdays will cover a greater part of Sawyers Bay than now, as well as Careys Bay.

The longer routes to Port Chalmers, Peninsula and Mosgiel will operate to an 80-90 minute frequency (lower frequency for the longer Harwood- Harington Point services).

Passenger Transport-Citibus director Kayne Baas said the improvements were good for everyone and meant the company could offer more staff greater hours, and more flexibility.

In addition, the council will install at least 50 bus shelters throughout the Dunedin network, as part of a programme of installations over the next six months.

A new timetable will soon be distributed to all Dunedin residents, and an electronic version will be available on the council website from January 27 at 5pm.


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