Setback for bus service hopes

An improved bus service may not be on the cards for the north coast.

In May the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board put in a submission to the Otago Regional Council’s regional public transport plan.

Board chairman Alasdair Morrison said it asked for a decent bus service for the north coast area, which at present did not have a weekday evening service or a weekend service.

At the last meeting of the community board, regional council transport manager Garry Maloney said the council had looked at what could be achieved within its budget share, hoping to make a change in January next year.

It had also sought funding from the NZ Transport Agency 2021–24 national land transport programme but did not secure funds for bus services.

‘‘What we have got is half the funding for service improvement at the moment.’’

Mr Maloney said he would be presenting a report to the council at the end of the month, but at present there were probably two choices: one was no service improvement, and the other was to see how service improvements could happen within the funding allocation.

If the council wanted to progress the service this year for the next two years it would have to decide how it was going to fund the cost of that service.

Mr Morrison asked if there was a partial service that could be achieved.

Mr Maloney said what had been budgeted was about two extra daily services and weekend services.

‘‘So that could be another option is to fully fund a change to weekday services or do something for the weekend.’’

Board member Mandy Mayhem-Bullock said the service seemed to have gone backwards.

‘‘... when I was a teenager there was a Friday night bus that I was allowed to catch.

‘‘As a mother of teenagers it would be a wonderful thing if there was a weekend bus service.’’

Mr Maloney said he would look at what could be achieved within the funding allocation.

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