On the buses more easily with changes

Ritchies regional manager Dunedin/Oamaru Malcolm Budd with the new larger Lookout Point bus sign....
Ritchies regional manager Dunedin/Oamaru Malcolm Budd with the new larger Lookout Point bus sign. Photo: Peter McIntosh.
Ritchies has switched to big, simpler signs to end  problems with cluttered, hard-to-read messages on the front of buses.

Some problems with hard-to-read signs emerged after several changes to the Dunedin bus system took effect on August 15.

These changes included a simplified bus numbering system, reorganised routes,  streamlined zones, and free transfer system.

In a recent ODT report, the co-president of bus user group Bus Go, Alex King, said the signage issues were "disappointing".

Some sign lettering was smaller than the 125mm height required by the NZ Transport Agency.

Bus Go had written to the Otago Regional Council emphasising the importance of having large destination signs and the council had said the issues would be addressed, Mr King said.

Ritchies regional manager Dunedin/Oamaru, Malcolm Budd,  said the ORC’s simplified and more logical bus route  numbers were easier for bus patrons to read and use.

After hearing criticism of the longer, multiple-word signs,  he had reviewed the Ritchies signs and had them changed to "make it clear for people to see".

And the lettering was about twice the height specified by NZTA, Mr Budd said.Bus users often had little time to recognise their required destination on a bus sign and hail the correct bus. Some users had impaired vision, and darkness, fog and rain  made some signs difficult to read, he said.

Mr King said Bus Go remained optimistic but there had been some specific problems since August 15, including over aspects of the new Waverley-Belleknowes route, he said.

Bus Go will discuss bus issues at a public meeting in the McNab Room at the Dunedin City Library at 11am on Monday.

ORC support services manager Gerard Collings earlier acknowledged the "Waverley" to "Belleknowes" signage on that new route had previously caused some "confusion" and the matter would be addressed.

Mr Collings yesterday acknowledged sign changes by Ritchies and said there was continuing dialogue with the other bus operator, Go Bus Transport Ltd.

There had been problems with some free transfers not being picked up by the ticketing system shortly after August 15, but the situation had since greatly improved.

The ORC had received some "both positive and negative feedback" overall and would learn from this, including when the remaining 60% of bus route changes were implemented early next year, he said.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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