Inner-city free bus loop proposed

Cr Aaron Hawkins
Cr Aaron Hawkins
Dunedin's public transport could be in for a shake-up as the city council explores introducing an inner-city bus loop and pushes to make bus fares cheaper.

As well as proposing a free central city bus loop service, the Dunedin City Council wants to work with the Otago Regional Council to develop alternative ways to fund the city's bus system.

Councillors voted to adopt two resolutions: one on developing a free central city bus loop service and another on developing different public transport funding options, written by Crs David Benson-Pope and Aaron Hawkins, at a meeting on the council's annual plan yesterday.

It was a ''no brainer'' there should be a low-carbon electric bus operating for no charge in the inner-city, Cr Benson-Pope said.

His resolution asked the council to work with the regional council to enable the trial of a low carbon, free small bus loop in the central city and seek funding from the regional council, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).

If successful, the trial could become a permanent service.

Up to $400,000 could be set aside for the service which could be paid for through parking charges.

How much money the city council would spend on any service would be determined by the amount of funding which came from other sources, Cr Benson-Pope said.

Once the bus hub became operational, the trial should begin as soon as practicable and would need to be accommodated as planned street work in George St progressed.

Cr Benson-Pope did not want the bus service to compromise the regional council's system but complement its service.

Following the successful vote on the inner-city bus proposal Cr Hawkins put forward his resolution which could mean Dunedin adopted a public transport funding model similar to Queenstown's.

The resolution asked the council to develop options to offset bus fares, which included funding through rates collected by the city council and parking charges.

Since 2017, public transport in Queenstown has been funded by both the regional council, Queenstown Lakes District Council and the NZTA and costs commuters $2 a ride across all zones

Both proposals will be part of the public consultation on the annual plan in March and April.

The council would also lobby the Government for greater flexibility under the national public transport operation model and advocate for a change to the Land Transport Act, so the city council could take on governance of the public transport system.

Only Cr Lee Vandervis voted against Cr Hakwins' resolution and he abstained from the vote on the inner city bus service because he said due process had not been followed, which was rejected by Mayor Dave Cull.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

Comments

A DCC with their heads in the 1980s sand. Shopping is now done online and big box stores, not the CBD. The other CBD users- office workers use cars, as do shoppers. Why does the DCC support a dying bus system?- I see empty (or near) buses every day except school students commuting. We do not need the current bus network, Uber is so much better.

Yes I think you are right, I was staying in North Sydney for 10 days for a new company in 2010 obviously 2 of which were weekends, The place completely closes down in the weekend, luckily Sydney has a Train system the CBD is similar mainly caters for mainly tourists and office work but still has the pitt street mall. Unfortunately Dunedin doesn't have a Mall but has some of the standalone big box shops. The day a town does not support a public transport system is the day it has died. Smaller buses might be the answer, with having smaller busses on standby for if a route is full. Down track additionally will Gigatown (Culls failed golden ticket for employment ) a better GO ticket system could be implemented with people swipe on at a bus stop select the service they want town to lookout point to town to St clear and a bus HQ would monitor and know if an extra small bus is needed. they need to trend the data of who is using what service at what time and day. With your Uber comment not everybody has a smart phone and the elderly need to be looked after. Any bus loop in the city should be paid for by Council.

 

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