Petition on buses presented

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A full public gallery clapped as an Otago Peninsula community member handed over a 960-signature petition calling for improvements to the peninsula bus service during an Otago Regional Council meeting yesterday.

Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope and parent Jason Graham spoke during the public forum to ask the council to make three changes to the current bus service to better cater for school pupils.

The requested changes were to have a bus leave Portobello 10 minutes earlier at 7.47am, add a 3.08pm bus from the city and make small adjustments to the route of both of these buses to “significantly reduce the safety risk factor”.

Changes in the service would result in 60 more children using the bus service to and from school, fewer cars on Portobello Rd, reduced cost of bus stops and infrastructure, and a safer travel option for children, Mr Graham said.

These outcomes were based on a survey sent out to peninsula school children at the end of term one, he said.

After questions about the changes were discussed, regional council deputy chairwoman Gretchen Robertson thanked the community for the petition and public for attending.

“We will consider the options that you’ve presented to us and it’s likely that [it will] come back to committee in about four weeks’ time.”

Seventy-nine people signed a hard copy petition at Portobello Store, 139 people signed a hard copy at the Macandrew Bay store and 742 people signed the online soft copy.

About 20 members of the public were at the meeting.

Otago Peninsula residents have been calling for an improvement to the regional council bus system since Go Bus dropped its school service last year.