Bus use 'reality check'

Bryan Scott
Bryan Scott
Analysis showing a decrease of about 1% in use of Dunedin's public bus system is a ''reality check'', Otago regional councillor Bryan Scott says.

An update of passenger services presented to a recent council committee meeting showed that while overall patronage was down, Saturday services were attracting users.

In a report to the committee, council manager support services Gerard Collings said Saturday services showed a 3% increase last year. The regional council had increased Saturday services in January last year. At Cr Sam Neill's request, Mr Collings worked out the percentage increase translated to about 2500-3000 extra trips.

Cr Trevor Kempton said getting people to use buses was going to continue to be ''a battle''.

''Maybe when petrol's $3 a [litre], it might change.''

Cr Scott said patronage figures had looked promising during the year but the final figures presented a different picture.

Cr David Shepherd said the figures showed drops in usage during the university holidays.

This year, the council was working with the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic student associations to increase student use of the bus system. A student discount was being trialled and 6000 Go Cards would be distributed to first-year tertiary students.

From February 17 to April 30, students would receive a 15% discount on top of the 10% Go Card subsidy available to everybody.

''Students will be required to present a current student ID to drivers, in order to obtain the trial concession.''

- rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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