Smaller buses may be used in future

Smaller buses may be a part of Dunedin's revamped public transport system, as the Otago Regional Council looks for flexibility in the network.

ORC support services manager Gerard Collings said yesterday as new contracts were awarded, the council would try to ''optimise'' bus sizes. The ORC will next month begin consultation on the service, following a draft Otago regional public transport plan that includes faster and more direct routes.

The plan has been developed this year by the regional council, along with the Dunedin City Council, New Zealand Transport Agency, Queenstown Lakes District Council and bus companies.

In May, the city council voted to support in principle a transfer of public transport governance and planning responsibilities from the ORC to the DCC.

Under government legislation, the regional council was required to put the plan together, so whoever runs the service could tender for new or replacement providers.

Several contracts with bus companies expire next June, and June 2016.

Use of smaller buses has been suggested as a way of providing a cheaper service on routes with lower patronage.

Mr Collings said buses needed to be big enough to handle peak times on any route they serviced. However, he anticipated smaller buses may be used in the future. A change in New Zealand Transport Agency policy for urban buses

in the past few years meant there was more flexibility.

- david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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