New bus stop but maybe tell driver

Bayfield High School pupils (from left) Chris Hawkins (16), Josephine Tarasiewicz (13), River...
Bayfield High School pupils (from left) Chris Hawkins (16), Josephine Tarasiewicz (13), River Charteris-Wright (14) and Conla Benham (16) walk along Portsmouth Dr after their bus failed to stop at a new temporary bus stop on the Andersons Bay causeway. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
A new  temporary bus stop has been established on Andersons Bay Inlet causeway, following a public meeting last week which raised serious safety concerns about the original bus stops near Marne St.

But it appeared no-one told the Dunedin bus driver, who drove past it yesterday morning.

At last Thursday’s meeting with Otago Regional Council representatives, many said the Marne St bus stops were in a dangerous location because 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 High School principal Judith Forbes said two senior pupils had nearly been hit by vehicles at the bus stops in two separate instances already this year.

As a result of the concerns, the ORC and the Dunedin City Council have installed a temporary bus stop at a new location on the causeway.

The stop was supposed to be used for the first time yesterday morning. Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope and Mrs Forbes were there to welcome the pupils, and celebrate the small win for their safety.

‘‘We went there at 7.50am to meet the bus, waited expectantly, and the bus just drove right past us,’’ Cr Pope said.

‘‘The kids knew that the bus was due to stop there and they told the bus driver that she was supposed to stop, and she said she knew nothing about it and just carried on.’’

A Ritchies bus, on the Otago Peninsula route, passes a new temporary bus stop on the Andersons...
A Ritchies bus, on the Otago Peninsula route, passes a new temporary bus stop on the Andersons Bay causeway. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
He said the bus finally came to a halt outside a storage facility on Portsmouth Dr where there is no bus stop.

‘‘The look on our faces when the bus just drove past us ... it must have been quite priceless.’’

He said there was a lot of concern at last Thursday’s community meeting about the lack of communication from the ORC.

‘‘I think today is an example of how communication breaks down. Those are issues and those are things that are not insurmountable and can be solved.

‘‘To make things better, we have to improve that communication.’’

ORC senior transport officer Julian Philips said ORC and DCC staff had been working hard since last Thursday’s meeting, to address the public’s safety concerns.

‘‘A temporary bus stop was in place on Friday.

‘‘The time-lines have been very tight and we understand from the operator [Ritchies] that the driver simply hadn’t quite caught up this morning with the fact that the stop was already in service.

‘‘Ritchies have confirmed that the stop will be in use tomorrow.

‘‘It’s an interim solution; we are working with the DCC on a safe permanent solution nearby.’’

Despite the hiccup, Mr Pope was pleased the ORC was trying to do something about the situation.

‘‘I’m really pleased that they’ve put this bus stop in as a temporary measure, because what it says to me is that the council have listened to what the community had to say at the meeting last Thursday night.

‘‘It’s not ideal, it’s not the best place, but it’s a start to moving towards getting a permanent bus stop developed in conjunction with the regional council and the DCC.

‘‘That’s a good start for the kids at Bayfield High School.

‘‘Then there’s the issues about what we do with the kids from Tahuna Intermediate and King’s and Queen’s.

‘‘The ball is rolling.’’

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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'the council have listened to what the community had to say at the meeting last Thursday night.' But did the staff? Ask the boss-Gerrard Collings.