Call for Sunday night, stadium services

Older church-going Dunedin residents are being disadvantaged by a lack of buses on Sunday nights, and a direct bus service is also needed to Forsyth Barr Stadium, Grey Power Otago says.

The organisation's president, Jo Millar, was making a submission yesterday to a combined hearing panel, which includes members of the regional transport committees of the Otago Regional Council and Environment Southland.

''There's no service after 6pm on Sundays,'' she said.

The submission was among nearly 220 from community groups and members of the public, on Otago aspects of draft Otago-Southland regional land transport plans that have been developed by the two regional councils.

Mrs Millar appreciated other proposed moves in the plans to improve the bus service, but said it was also important that public transport was available on Sunday evenings.

And this was also needed on the three annual public holidays, Christmas Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when only a voluntary service, provided by a bus charity, was available.

Not everyone had a car and the interests of older people, and of people with disabilities, needed to be always kept in mind, she said.

''I think it's absolutely essential to have transport on those days.

''I just think there could be a better public transport system.''

Many people who did not have cars also wanted to visit Forsyth Barr Stadium, and providing bus connections would also help other people who wanted to have a few drinks at a game at the stadium and did not want to drive home.

''There should be a way to get down there without a taxi,'' she said.

Otago Regional Council transport committee chairman Trevor Kempton said providing bus services involved a ''balancing act'' in which the benefits to users had to be balanced against the ability of other people in the community to pay to support the service.

He appreciated the points Mrs Millar had made and regional council transport officials who were attending the meeting had also noted her suggestions, he said in an interview.

The panel will continue its hearing in Invercargill today. Transport panel representatives will report back to their respective transport committees and the two regional councils will later, in turn, submit their proposed transport plans to the New Zealand Transport Agency by the end of next month.

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