Bus satisfaction grows as improvements continue
An official survey of bus users has revealed great satisfaction with Dunedin and Queenstown’s overhauled bus services.
Overall satisfaction levels for Dunedin have climbed to 93% from 87% last year and are at 95% in Wakatipu (not previously surveyed).
The results were reported to the council’s finance and corporate committee this today.
In Dunedin, some of the key satisfaction indicators, such as ‘how often the service runs’ and the quality of bus information, have jumped by at least 20% in the past year following a major network upgrade last September which simplified routes and increased the frequency and quality of services.
Significant revisions to the website and social media – including an improved journey planner, dynamic timetables and a new alert system – are reflected in big increases in satisfaction with ‘ease of getting route information’ and ‘information about services and delays’.
Passengers of Queenstown’s new Orbus service are also very happy with the service overall, especially with the quality of the buses (95%), route information (95%) and travel times (94%).
There remain some challenges for the Queenstown service, with satisfaction in how often the services run at 78%, and with information about services and delays at 71%. However, these results are in line with expectations, given the pressure for services to fast-growing areas, and continued rush hour congestion and roadworks.
“We’re really pleased with these results” Otago Regional Council Chief Executive Sarah Gardner said. “While we are also aware of areas for ongoing improvement, it’s very heartening to see that those who are making use of the service are quietly happy overall.”
As well as Dunedin’s bus hub, currently under construction, other ongoing changes in the works include increases in frequency for two more routes. In Queenstown, afternoon peak services between Lake Hayes Estate and Jack’s Point which have been hourly will be increased to half-hourly. The council also plans to fast-track the extension of half-hour services to off-peak times between Waverley and Belleknowes in Dunedin.
Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult said he was extremely happy with the results. “It’s great to see the local community embracing the service and making the choice to leave the car at home. If we can maintain growth in passenger numbers, this will lead to further enhancements which will encourage even more people to adopt the bus as a viable alternative.” Dunedin City Council Chief Executive Sue Bidrose said, “Anything that encourages people to use public transport is great for the city and great for the environment. I’m really pleased the partnership between the DCC, the ORC and the NZ Transport Agency is paying off for Dunedin.”
Jim Harland, Director Regional Relationships for the NZ Transport Agency, says it is great to see customer satisfaction with the bus service in Queenstown and Dunedin at such healthy levels.
The survey samples of 200 bus passengers on each network were randomly selected in accordance with NZ Transport Agency guidelines.