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Bus Trial Successfully Establishes Permanent Commuter Routes

Press Release from Connectabus and Otago Regional Council
Tuesday, 12 February

Bus Trial Successfully Establishes Permanent Commuter Bus Routes around Queenstown

Queenstown NZ: A 32 month trial offering bus services to outlying Queenstown suburbs finishes this month and has been hailed a success by two trial partners Otago Regional Council (ORC) and bus service provider Connectabus.

The project was established with significant investment by ORC, New Zealand Transport Agency, Connectabus, and Queenstown-Lakes District Council. It was designed to provide improved and reliable commuter services which would become commercially viable, and therefore permanent, within the project timeframe.

ORC Finance and Corporate committee chairman Duncan Butcher said the project was in response to population growth projections and that support for the trial meant Connectabus could now operate the new services on a stand-alone basis.

“With the cooperation and expertise of the people at Connectabus, and the support of the community, we’ve achieved that. People now need to understand that this service is running purely on a commercial basis and its ongoing viability will depend on their continued support,” said Mr Butcher.

Connectabus managing director Ewen McCammon is delighted to be able to offer unsubsidised services on all routes established during the trial - Kelvin Heights, Arthurs Point, Quail Rise and Lake Hayes Estate along with the original routes to Frankton, Fernhill/Sunshine Bay and Arrowtown.

“We’ve used the subsidy to establish routes and we couldn’t have done it without that help,” said Mr McCammon. “Arthurs Point runs have been offered on a purely commercial basis for the past four months and that will now extend to all routes. When we consider where this service has come from and how it’s grown in the past five years, we’re pretty pleased with what we’ve achieved.”
The project also included the development of an electronic ticketing ‘Go Card’ system that substantially reduces the cost of travel for regular commuters.

“We’ve set this up in consultation with local businesses and people who travel regularly,” said Mr McCammon. “If people use the buses as a taxi service, it will cost more, but if they buy into it as their primary form of transport – then it becomes very cheap.”

Commuters are advised to consult new timetables which will be widely distributed over the next couple of weeks. The alterations come into effect from March 1. All areas will retain bus services, undiminished during commuter hours – early and late in the day – but with some reductions on some runs during the middle of the day.

Mr McCammon said the company would certainly introduce more services if there was demand.

“We are very sensitive to the community and its transport needs and are a small responsive company willing to work with our customers to provide an awesome service. Our bus service is unique, there’s no other such commercial system in Australasia running in a town this size – we depend on visitors as well as the support of local commuters to make all of our routes work.”
--

Key Facts
- Bus trial began July 2010 and finishes Feb 28, 2013
- All areas to retain existing bus service on a commercial basis
- Timetables have changed, reduction in some middle of the day services
- All pricing remains the same

The following table shows service growth over the past five years

Number of one way services each dayKelvin HeightsArthurs PointArrowtownQuail RiseLake Hayes EstateFrankton RoadFernhill
2008--14-136064
201339 (incl final stop at Hilton)3025192910264

ENDS

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