Bus change woes

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New routes hurting business, retailers say

Changes to Dunedin’s southern bus routes are affecting business in South Dunedin, shop owners say. The changes to the Mosgiel-Taieri bus routes in June last year led to buses from Green Island being rerouted to travel along the Southern Motorway into the Octagon rather than through South Dunedin. Grey Power Otago president Jo Miller said the new routes meant it was more difficult for customers to get to South Dunedin. Because of this, there had ‘‘definitely’’ been a decline in foot traffic in the area, Mrs Miller said. Pop-In Pop-Up Market coowner Liane Craig said the store, on the corner of King Edward St and Hillside Rd, had had ‘‘a drop’’ in the number of customers because many of its Green Island and Concord customers could not get to the south of the city without transferring through central Dunedin. South Dunedin Business Association chairman Craig Waterhouse said while there were no definite statistics indicating a decline in business, he had heard anecdotally people were noticing adifference. Thomas Shoes owner-manager David Thomas said while it was ‘‘hard to know’’ if business had been affected by the bus changes, there was definitely less foot traffic than there used to be. ‘‘[I] certainly don’t think it’s done South Dunedin any good.’’ McAuliffe Jewellers co-owner Robert McAuliffe said the changes to the routes ‘‘certainly had affected the area’’ and he had ‘‘noticed a little bit of difference’’ in customer numbers. Other updates to the bus service in August this year had also affected southern bus users. The Ross Creek to Ocean Grove service now travelled directly down Andersons Bay Rd instead of King Edward St. Mrs Miller said this meant passengers, many of whom were elderly GoldCard users, had to walk several blocks to get to and from the King Edward St shops. The updates to the routes mean an elderly bus user travelling from Abbotsford to South Dunedin and back would have to transfer buses four times during their journey.
They would catch the bus from Abbotsford to the Green Island superstop, transfer to a bus into the Octagon, where they would transfer to a bus to South Dunedin, and then twice again on their return journey. ‘‘They say people don’t use the buses . . .but people won’t use the bus if it’s not convenient to use,’’ Mrs Miller said. When approached by The Star for comment about businesses being affected by the bus routes, Otago Regional Council support services manager Gerard Collings said ‘‘that matter hasn’t been raised with us directly’’.