Peninsula bus route changes

Minor changes to the Otago Peninsula bus route are being celebrated as a major success for the community, but some say they have taken much too long to come to fruition.

Residents spent much of last year fighting with the Otago Regional Council to get a bus from the peninsula to go closer to Bayfield High School and Tahuna Intermediate before and after school.

An ORC spokesman said as of Monday, there would be a variation to route 18 which meant two services per day would detour through Musselburgh instead of continuing along Portobello Rd.

The services running the variation would be the Portobello-City service, departing Portobello at 7.47am (this service replaces the weekday 7.57am service), and the City-Portobello service, departing from the city at 3.08pm (this is an additional weekday service).

The detour would go from Portobello Rd, down Marne St, Somerville St, Musselburgh Rise and into Andersons Bay Rd and vice versa.

Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope said while he was pleased with the variation, it had taken "an awful long time'' to get approved by the ORC.

"I think the original decision made by [Otago Regional] councillors was that these changes be made straight away, and we really could have probably had this service running in the last term of school.

"These days, we get so waylaid by policies and legal opinions. I think we just need to remember who the bus service is for.

"Sometimes we've got to be a little bit more flexible in our thinking.''

Despite the high level of bureaucracy, "we finally got there for the new year'', he said.

"From that perspective, that's a positive.

"Another plus was, last year was a really good example of the community banding together to bring about the change.

"I'll be really pleased to see all those Tahuna Intermediate and Bayfield High School kids not having to stop on the causeway, and being able to get off the bus at a relatively safe distance from their school.''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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