DCC may run Dunedin's buses

There is good news and bad news for those keen to see a change in management of Dunedin's public transport system - delegating it to the Dunedin City Council is to be investigated, but the public will not get a say for a least a year.

Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull announced yesterday there would be a year-long investigation into the potential of the city council taking over running the bus service from the regional council.

That ruled out a potential handover being consulted on early next year when both organisations considered their annual and long-term plans.

Suggestions the city council was the natural home of public transport management have been made regularly over the years, but a major block to it being officially considered was the city council's ownership of Citibus. As it no longer owned the bus company, the door was open to change.

In September, after similar calls for a change, regional council chief executive Graeme Martin called for the city council to "put up or leave it be" so the councils could get on with planning.

Yesterday, the two leaders admitted delegating authority had some appeal but also some limitations.

The chief executives of the two councils had been given the job to review how the statutory functions could be transferred and report back to both councils in late 2012.

Mr Cull said the councils should "not be rushed into this process", but neither could they let the issue "languish".

The city council had a large workload already and he believed it would be sensible to wait until after the election for clarification on Government policy and funding. In September, Mr Cull said any potential proposal to take over the bus system would be due to the "synergies and efficiencies" that could be achieved, not because of a suggestion the regional council was not doing a good job.

Mr Woodhead said yesterday while the concept of delegating the service to the city council sounded simple, there were many other areas affected such as the operation of the Total Mobility scheme and how it would impact on other districts and the statutory planning process.



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