Dunedin bus stop tragedy feared

Dunedin Passenger Transport bus driver Bop Cope. Graphic by Hayden Smith.
Dunedin Passenger Transport bus driver Bop Cope. Graphic by Hayden Smith.
A Dunedin bus driver believes the Dunedin City Council is toying with lives by stalling action on "dangerous" bus stops in the city.

Dunedin Passenger Transport (DPT) bus driver Bob Cope said he was asked by the council to investigate "anomalies" on his route between the city and Abbotsford in November 2006 as part of a roading and bus stop audit.

He found 25 and passed details to the council for attention.

When nothing was done, he asked in April last year about the lack of progress, to be told problems would be fixed before Christmas.

"I'm absolutely sick to death of using my own time asking council to make passenger and driver-friendly bus stops," Mr Cope said.

"Some of these stops are putting lives at risk."

The most dangerous bus stop on his route was outside the Green Island Memorial Gardens in Main South Rd, just metres from St Peter Chanel School, he said.

The south-bound bus stop was immediately in front of a pedestrian crossing, making it difficult for passing southbound drivers to see people on the crossing.

"There's an accident waiting to happen there . . . I stop there with great trepidation.

"Last week, people driving past the bus stop narrowly missed a group of school children on the crossing, purely because they couldn't see past the bus."

Friday nights were the worst, as people parked their cars on the bus stop while waiting for food from the two takeaway outlets opposite, Mr Cope said. The bus then had to double-park, "doubling the danger".

Many of the bus stops on his route were too small for the new buses - the new "low-floor" buses were 13m long, 2m longer than their predecessors.

If cars were parked at either end of a short bus stop, the driver could not get the bus close enough to the kerb which was dangerous and difficult for elderly passengers, some of whom were not very mobile, Mr Cope said.

Several bus stops were also dangerously close to intersections, and several lacked road markings to show they were bus stops.

Another problem was that many car drivers parked on the stops because they failed to notice the signs on lampposts.

Mr Cope said each of the approximately 25 bus routes in Dunedin had similar anomalies.

Dunedin City Council transportation operations manager Mike Costelloe said Mr Cope's observations were part of a councilaudit of bus routes which began two years ago.

Unfortunately, the audit had been stopped several times because of lack of staff to complete it.

"Over the next six months, we hope to complete the audit. We can't let it drag on."



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