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Clarification on Wakatipu school bus services

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Clarification on Wakatipu school bus services

Community concerns about future transport arrangements for Queenstown schools are being worked through.

The Ministry of Education indicated to the community in 2013 that it intended to review its bus services in the Wakatipu Basin, and when plans were later announced for the opening of a new high school in Frankton, the Ministry signalled that some services may be withdrawn next year.

The Otago Regional Council is implementing a new, improved public transport system for Wakatipu from 20 November. Last week representatives of the Regional Council, the Ministry, and Wakatipu High School met to discuss the details of the proposed changes.

“From those discussions, it has been agreed that Ministry services will continue for Arthurs Point, Arrowtown, Lake Hayes Estate, Quail Rise, Shotover Country, as well as those areas currently serviced by the Ministry outside public transport routes” said Peter Bodeker, Regional Council Chief Executive. This would be until the public services could provide the necessary frequency, capacity and timing for this purpose.

Mr Bodeker said the possible need for additional passenger capacity on the Fernhill-Remarkables Park service had been identified. Regional Council staff would investigate this further, and report back to councillors.
The Otago Regional Council will have services available to transport high school students currently using Ministry School buses from Sunshine Bay, Frankton, Jack’s Point and Kelvin Heights.

Regional Council Chair Stephen Woodhead said “I know there has been a lot of concern among parents and teachers in Wakatipu about the future of these services, and we are pleased to be able to provide greater clarity,”

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult acknowledged the agreement between the Regional Council and the Ministry as the right, common-sense decision for the local community. “This is a great result for both students and families of the Wakatipu. Having clarity around how our students are getting to and from school is something we have all pushed hard for and it’s fantastic to see a sound approach to the issue being taken. It also gives the new $2 bus service the opportunity to really get off the ground with local commuters and visitors,” said Mayor Boult.

The Ministry will continue to work collaboratively with Otago Regional Council and the local schools on finding appropriate school transport solutions to help students further integrate with the developing public transport network.

ends

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