Plan to get more people on buses

Bus patrons shelter from the rain at the bus hub in Great King St yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Bus patrons shelter from the rain at the bus hub in Great King St yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN

A planned shakeup of bus services in Dunedin is aimed at getting many more people to use public transport to get to work.

Moves could range from boosting bus frequency to providing discounts for frequent travel and an inner-city free-fare zone.

The Otago Regional Council has requested proposals for a business case to show why greater investment in public transport is needed and what form restructured services might take.

Aims include reducing carbon emissions from single-occupant vehicles and developing a plan to grow use of alternative modes of transport in the city, including by bus.

The business case is to be funded by the regional council and Waka Kotahi-NZ Transport Agency, as part of the Shaping Future Dunedin Transport package designed to ease traffic congestion expected to result from construction of the new Dunedin Hospital in the central city.

An aspiration of the programme is to increase travel to work by public transport from 3.4% in 2018 to 8% in 2030.

Development of the business case has been pitched as "a great opportunity to help make Dunedin’s bus service even more successful".

One idea, in a document obtained by the Otago Daily Times, was for free fares between the Gardens and the Oval, as commuter parking moved further away from the core city centre.

Other matters to be considered include frequency of services and how to provide more suitable services to account for start and finishing times for school and work.

Some changes have already been flagged, such as a new express service for Mosgiel from September.

Dunedin was described in the document as predominantly car-based.

Most vehicles enter Dunedin from the south.

However, the city had an extensive bus network and its cycling network was growing.

Walking was considered a viable option for many residents because of the compact nature of the city and medium-density housing close to the central city.

Tenders on developing the business case opened last week and are to close on July 29.

Development of new timetables and consideration of bus size were among matters deemed to be out of scope.

Other changes proposed as part of the Shaping Future Dunedin Transport programme include a park-and-ride service at Mosgiel and making Dunedin’s Princes St more suitable for buses.

--  grant.miller@odt.co.nz

 

 

 

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