Council hits back over bus stop

Bayfield High School pupils use the new temporary bus stop on the Andersons Bay causeway yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Bayfield High School pupils use the new temporary bus stop on the Andersons Bay causeway yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The temporary bus stop on the Andersons Bay causeway has raised the ire of many motorists, but the Dunedin City Council has hit back, saying its priority was ''first and foremost'' to give school pupils a safe place to get off buses.

Most people contacting the Otago Daily Times yesterday objected to the bus stop's placement on broken yellow lines and questioned whether the Dunedin City Council and the Otago Regional Council were breaking the law by putting it there.

Some said it was even more dangerous, particularly for drivers, than the previous bus stop site, and one asked if parking infringement notices would be issued to bus drivers who stopped there.

The temporary stop was created following a public meeting with ORC representatives last Thursday, at which parents and school staff said the Marne St bus stops were in a dangerous location.

They said pupils had to cross the road on a blind corner to walk on the footpath along Portobello Rd, and then cross again near the busy Shore St intersection, to get to Bayfield High School.

Bayfield principal Judith Forbes said two senior pupils had nearly been hit by vehicles at the bus stops in two separate instances already this year.

DCC transport group manager Richard Saunders said council had worked with the ORC to create the new temporary stop on the causeway, which they believed provided a safer egress for school pupils who were previously being dropped off in a location ''that everybody agreed was not safe''.

''We are working on a permanent solution which is not far away - it will be weeks away, not months.

''We will get that installed, which will remove the need for that temporary bus stop.

''But for safety reasons, our priority first and foremost, was to give those students somewhere safe to exit the bus.

''We understand that it's a difficult location for people [motorists], but waiting for 10-15 seconds while the students exit the bus, in terms of safety for those students, I don't consider that to be unreasonable.''

Mr Saunders did not believe the council was breaking the law by placing the bus stop on broken yellow lines.

''We did look at that and we made sure that we were OK to do what we were doing, which is allocate a place for a bus to stop.

''We've signposted it accordingly.

''Given that it's a temporary solution, rather than changing full road markings and everything that goes with that, we've taken the pragmatic solution of putting the stop in with the appropriate signs while we get the permanent one installed.''

Representatives from Macandrew Bay School, Tahuna Intermediate, Bayfield High School, King's High School and Queen's High School met yesterday to discuss ''tweaks'' that could be made to the present bus routes, the schedules and the location of bus stops, so they better met the needs of pupils.

Mrs Forbes said their ''wish list'' would be presented to the ORC later this week.

''It's got to be timely, it's got to be close enough that they don't have a huge distance to walk. It's got to be a sensible transport solution.''


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