Go Bus declines meeting over routes

Concerned parents Sharron Feist (top), of Outram, and Michelle Cottage, of Taieri Mouth, with...
Concerned parents Sharron Feist (top), of Outram, and Michelle Cottage, of Taieri Mouth, with Taieri MP Ingrid Leary after yesterday’s virtual school bus meeting. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Go Bus was nowhere to be seen when stakeholders, including schools, parents and councils, met yesterday to discuss Dunedin’s school bus routes.

The routes were thrown into chaos at the start of this year when Otago Road Services ceased operating school bus services around the city at the end of last year after rival operator Go Bus took over its Ministry of Education-funded routes.

Yesterday’s meeting was billed as a chance for the affected parties to get around a virtual table and work out some of the issues.

It was arranged by Taieri Labour MP Ingrid Leary who said while it had been positive to get representatives from the Otago Regional Council, Dunedin City Council, and affected schools and parents to the meeting, it was disappointing Go Bus had declined an invitation.

She said she would be helping schools and parents to put pressure on Go Bus to help resolve the ongoing issues.

"Bus services are not just a commercial service, there is a social element to them which is making sure kids get to school in a way where their education isn’t getting impacted.

"Currently, that’s not the case."

In an email declining an invitation to attend the meeting, a Go Bus spokesman said the ORC and the Ministry of Education were best placed to advise the public on what might be possible at present as the parties contracting services from the bus company.

"Once solutions are identified in detail, Go Bus can collaboratively work directly with the required contracting party to look at delivery options, costings/payments for travel and timelines for the implementation of any agreed solution."

While a long-term solution is yet to be found, the ORC, in a statement yesterday afternoon, reiterated its continued public transport support for school pupils.

The council had approved the continuation of minor changes to the public bus network, including route variations and extensions, to continue to plug gaps left by the conclusion of Otago Road Services’ school routes last year.

Meanwhile, the ORC announced contingency plans to keep Dunedin and Queenstown buses running in the event that the current Omicron outbreak disrupted bus operations.

Buses in both centres would run a reduced timetable to maintain basic continuity of services.



So GO bus has taken the money and provided nothing for it? What does the ministry of education contract require of GO bus? Why is it so difficult to have a public transport system that actually works in Dunedin? Otago Road Services managed to run a company on this contract, now we can't even get kids safely to school. No accountability.



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter