Schools out to keep bus routes going

Schools are working to keep bus routes running after closure of a Dunedin bus company left pupils without a ride to town.

Commercial Dunedin bus company Otago Road Services has ceased operation, leaving many pupils without a way to get to school.

The issue has mainly affected Mosgiel, Taieri, Brighton and Green Island pupils travelling from outside school zones to other city schools.

An Otago Regional Council spokesman said pupils should prepare to travel to school on the public transport network.

The services fell outside the regional council’s transport network and public transport plan and were not contracted by the Ministry of Education. Those bus services contracted by the ministry would continue.

The affected schools include Otago Boys’ High School, King’s High School, St Hilda’s Collegiate School, Kaikorai Valley College, Taieri College and Balmacewen Intermediate School.

Regional council implementation lead Julian Phillips said some pupils might have a longer journey to school and might need to transfer to other buses.

Schools were working individually to find ways to get their pupils to school.

Otago Boys’ High School rector Richard Hall said the loss of the service was disappointing and the changes eroded parents’ ability to choose a type of education for their child.

"Our advice to families is to use the available services and to connect with the bus services.

"One avenue we are exploring, once school begins, is to help organise a parental car pool or some system of ride sharing for students," he said.

King’s High School deputy rector Darin Smith said the school was working with providers to ensure pupils could get to and from school.

Balmacewen Intermediate principal Andrew Hunter said it was working with a new bus provider.

The school was hoping to have an identical or similar route ready for the pupils soon.

St Hilda's Collegiate School deputy principal Helen Almey said it was still working with families to find solutions to the issue.

Taieri College posted an update to the school website, announcing it would be working with Go Bus to bring pupils to school.

Replacement routes for each of the routes affected had been worked out and the school was "working closely" with Go Bus and the Ministry of Education to ensure the transition went well.

The regional council announced last month it was approached by Kaikorai Valley College to work on a solution for the school.

A route extension would enable the public transport network to service students travelling to and from the school.

Affected bus routes

 - South Coast to Otago Boys’ High School

 - South Coast to King’s High School

 - Allanton/Mosgiel to St Hilda’s Collegiate

 - Mosgiel to King’s High School

 - Mosgiel to Otago Boys’ High School

 - Abbotsford to Kaikorai Valley College

 - Concord to Taieri College

 - Mosgiel to Balmacewen Intermediate

 - Balmacewen to Kaikorai Valley College

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