Wheels are turning on bus change

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Transport timetable busy

Bus hub construction, ticketing changes, route adaptations and community consultation are just some of the many things on the Otago Regional Council’s bus agenda this year.
ORC support services manager Gerard Collings said community feedback during the consultation period on the upcoming bus hub, planned for the Moray Pl end of Great King St, had been “quite good”, with about 280 submissions received.
Mr Collings eased concerns the hub’s placement would mean passengers who had used the stop outside New World in Cumberland St would have to walk a further block or two to the hospital, with plans for buses to go down Frederick St past the hospital.
The Intercity bus service was also likely to have a stop in Moray Pl for pickups and drop-offs, in addition to its main Halsey St depot, the University of Otago and the Gardens stop, he said.
While there were also concerns about the walking distance from the hub to the Civic Centre and other central-city sites, the point of the hub was to take the buses away from “points of conflict” such as the Octagon.
People needed to be “OK to walk a little bit of a distance” as the bus system could not provide a “door-to-door” service, Mr Collings said.
There would be further amendments to bus routes later this year, but first the ORC would consult Canongate residents after receiving a petition last year about the removal of the Arthur St/Russell St part of the route, he said.
The ORC had also met the Green Island Community Network recently to discuss the super stops and other queries from passengers on the Taieri.
Bike racks would be on all buses by the end of the year and all buses would be wheelchair accessible. The ORC was working with the NZ Transport Agency on providing a 50% subsidy for taxis for disabled or wheelchair-bound residents who could not use the buses, he said.
Consultation with the Disabled Persons’ Assembly would continue.
Mr Collings said the size of Dunedin and the number of car parks meant many people preferred cars to buses, but the younger generations were more comfortable using buses.
“I’m sure over time that will change.”
Ticketing changes, including the ability to top up Go Cards online, had been delayed due to nine councils having to decide what system to use, and other complications, Mr Collings said.
He hoped to provide an update in the next four to six weeks.