Dunedin bus network changes part of ‘fundamental shift’
Tuesday 29 August 2017
Dunedin bus network changes part of ‘fundamental shift’ in ORC approach to public transport
New timetable booklets are being delivered across Dunedin this week, in advance of changes to the city bus service which take effect from September 18.
The route and timetable changes are the third stage of a wider programme being implemented to improve the city network structure and bring in other service enhancements for users, including a suburb-connector service (the Ridge Runner) and cycle racks on all services.
Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said the changes are part of a ‘fundamental shift’ in the council’s approach to public transport in Otago, first outlined in the Regional Public Transport Plan in 2014.
“We’re working on bringing the Dunedin bus service into line with the expectations of 21st century bus-users, with the aim of increasing bus patronage over time. We aim to continue to provide a great service for current users, while also bringing a new generation onto the bus,” Mr Woodhead said.
ORC manager support services Gerard Collings said the latest changes set a platform for the Dunedin public transport network to be sustainable and efficient.
“The changes across the network represent a significant step up in service level. Many users will see an immediate improvement in the convenience of their service, with buses that come significantly more often on many routes, Mr Collings said.
“As with all changes to the network, however, this will cause some inconvenience as users adjust to new routes and timetables. We ask them to bear with us through this period.”
There will be changes to routes and/or timetables servicing the campus area, Calton Hill, St Clair, Corstorphine, St Clair Park, Normanby, Opoho, Pine Hill, Roslyn, Maori Hill, Helensburgh, Wakari, Balaclava, Shiel Hill, Port Chalmers, Portobello, Harington Point, Concord, Brighton, Green Island, and Abbotsford.
Overall, route changes have been simplified as much as possible, and routes made as direct as possible. Functionally, this means generally servicing main roads rather than smaller pedestrian streets, and removing variations to routes.
ORC communications committee chairman Cr Michael Deaker said the council was mindful there have been several stages of change in the Dunedin service in recent years.
“Although we’re nearly there, there are still more changes to come, including the planned bus hub. This is all towards a much improved network structure and service overall, but we do appreciate that the process of change in itself can be trying,” Cr Deaker said.
“We thank the Dunedin community for their patience and forbearance, and we’ll do our best to keep them well-informed at every stage.”
A team of regional council ‘bus ambassadors’ will ride the buses and talk with people at bus stops during the two-week lead up to the changes (4-22 September) and for a week subsequent, helping ensure passengers are abreast of the changes.