ORC to act over school bus axing

ORC support services manager Gerard Collings.
ORC support services manager Gerard Collings.
The Otago Regional Council is disappointed with Go Bus over the way it announced changes to school bus routes and has committed to look for potential solutions.

The commitment comes after school communities expressed "outrage" over not being consulted about changes to school bus routes, which some say will leave families facing severe hardship.

In a statement today ORC support services manager Gerard Collings said like people in the community it was "surprised by the sudden and short notice" that several school services operated by Go Bus would be discontinued from the end of this term.

"While the Go Bus services, and their removal, were outside the ORC's control, council staff are disappointed at the timing of the announcement and the lack of notice given by the operator to school communities affected," Mr Collings said.

Despite the services being outside ORC's control, it would investigate potential solutions and staff were working on a discussion paper for consideration at next week’s council meeting that would provide some initial commentary and potential options.

"What those potential options could be are still being worked through, but could include for example, investigation of options for service subsidy by individual schools, the Ministry of Education or the ORC."

"We understand that Go Bus’s announcement has put communities under strain and want to work towards finding solutions to enable safe public transport options to school and back."

Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope said  yesterday he had received two school notices regarding the discontinuation of school bus services to and from the Otago Peninsula.

"To say that families in my community are outraged is an understatement and the fact that they have not been consulted over the loss of this school service until very recently is abominable.

"To suggest that the ORC services in some way duplicate the school bus service is ludicrous because they are entirely separate.

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