Bus patronage up across city: report

Saddle Hill Community Board

Otago Regional Council transport implementation lead Julian Phillips continued his rounds of community boards with an appearance at the Saddle Hill Community Board meeting, held in central Dunedin last week.

With board deputy chairman Scott Weatherall leading the meeting, in the absence of chairman Paul Weir, members were interested to hear Mr Phillips’ report highlighting that bus patronage across the city and in the Saddle Hill area had increased strongly in the first three months of this year.

Mr Phillips said it was likely that the marked increase in bus patronage was possibly due to cheaper fares of 60 cents to $1 for under-25s, new concessions and the rising cost of petrol.

"We are seeing a large number of school pupils on buses in the southern area, which passes through Brighton and Green Island," he said.

"We now have a nearly full driver cohort, which has enabled us to increase the frequency of our Mosgiel to town services, although certain times are very busy," he said.

There was a tendency for school pupils to pile on to one busy service, making it very crowded, when waiting a further 5 or 10 minutes for another bus could alleviate that.

The ORC and Dunedin City Council were looking at the 900-odd bus stops across the city, which were of varying standards, and may look to rationalise some of those stops, Mr Phillips said.

Board members asked questions and expressed their thanks for the efforts made by Mr Phillips and his team to improve bus services in the area.

Mr Weatherall reiterated that the board was keen to press for some development of a shelter bus stop in Green Island before next winter.

The board also heard a presentation from newly appointed Emergency Management Otago advisers Paula Cathie and Taylor Hendl, who highlighted their roles — and that of colleague Claire Charleton — in educating the community in personal preparedness.

"We are the conduit between emergency management and the community," Ms Cathie said.

Funding application

At its public forum, the Saddle Hill Community Board heard a presentation from Brighton Fire Brigade senior firefighter Barry Day, in support of the brigade’s funding application of $642.85 for the purchase of a "Little Annie" training dummy.

Mr Day told the board brigade members were first responders and received a lot of medical calls, including heart attacks and needed to be able to do high performance CPR.

"It takes a lot of practice to get it right, and this mannequin has the technology to tell us how effective our compressions are," Mr Day said.

The board thanked Mr Day and his team for their work on behalf of the community and, later in the meeting, granted the funding request in full.

Board discussions

Board members provided a variety of updates on their areas of responsibility, including preparations for a Keep Dunedin Beautiful mural, the Brighton Toy Box, educating the public on community pantries, and progress on the welcome packs for new residents in the area.

In response to the urging of board member Keith McFadyen, and after discussion about McMasters Rd, the board passed a motion to advocate for the sealing of rural roads.

In his deputy chairman’s report, Mr Weatherall expressed delight at the completion of the half-basketball court at Waldronville and said it was being very well patronised by the community.

He told the board that flaxes had been removed from along Taieri Mouth Rd, to improve visibility and safety, with some re-planted at Brighton Domain and others taken by local residents.

Council staff were also planning to cut back vegetation at the intersection of Brighton and Scroggs Hill Rds to improve visibility.