City Rise bus changes upset regular users
Changes to the City Rise bus route are proving a hassle for many residents, with many elderly passengers now having to walk for more than 10 minutes to their nearest bus stop.
Resident Jessie Forslind, who contacted The Star after seeing the story about bus issues in South Dunedin last week, said the new Belleknowes to Waverley service – which bypasses the Arthur St/Russell St/Canongate route in favour of running directly down Rattray St – was making catching the bus difficult for many residents.
Arthur St and Russell St residents now had to walk along Arthur St to a bus stop by Arthur St Reserve, on the corner of Rattray and Arthur Sts, fellow resident Liz Angelo said.
The change to the service, which happened in August, meant the bus no longer went past the Broadway Medical Centre and other shops in the area, which was an inconvenience for passengers, Mrs Angelo said
Otago Regional Council support services manager Gerard Collings said the reason the route was changed to run down Rattray St was to make the service “more direct”, the overall reason for the service changes across the city in August.
He said the service was also still “not as direct as we’d like”, with the ORC planning to make more changes around the Octagon and central city area when the next set of changes occurred early next year.
However, this would not affect the service earlier in the route, he said.
Mrs Angelo also pointed out to The Star several new bus shelters installed along Arthur St last year, a street that no longer has a bus running on it.
Resident Mavis Timms was concerned the changes meant some residents were “becoming isolated”.
Mrs Angelo agreed, saying the changes to the system and the off-peak timetable switching to an hourly service was “taking away independence” of users.
The four bus users told The Star they just wanted the Otago Regional Council to reinstate the old route, providing a service for the densely populated Arthur St/Russell St/Canongate area.
Mr Collings said there were “no immediate plans” for a reinstatement of the route.
He said while the ORC would engage with the community about the central city bus hub in “early December”, the routes for the other services due to change early next year had “been well-defined for some time”, with consultation about the new network happening in 2014.
While there had been community drop-in centres in 2014 with “plenty of opportunity for the public to participate” in discussion about the changes, there were no plans for a public meeting about the upcoming changes to the system.