Submission to the Otago Regional Council Long term Plan 2018
Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin
c/o 12 Woodhaugh St, Dunedin 9010
ph: 021 137 2129
Email: busgodunedin (at) gmail.com
We DO wish to speak in support of our submission
In our submission we will support two key proposals in the ORC's draft plan. We will then repeat our request made in a similar submission to the Dunedin City Council's 10 year Plan 2018 for the two councils to work together on a major overhaul of public transport governance. We will outline our vision for improvement to the Dunedin bus network over the next ten years. Finally we will append our submission to last year's ORC Annual Plan which may have contained elements that were more appropriate to the Long term Plan process and which we still fully support.
PART 1: Items in the Draft plan
We support the ORC's plan to improve off-peak services to on-peak levels.
We support ORC's plan for a feasibility assessment of an airport bus service and a trial of this service
PART 2: Public transport governance in Dunedin
The successful implementation of the "Orbus Queenstown" of joint regional/district council management of bus services demonstrates that a similar move for Dunedin is timely. Both councils have been talking about this for years. Now it is time to get on with it:
- the bus hub design is complete and contracts for construction are imminent
- full implementation the Public Transport Operating Model is almost complete
- all routes will have been re-contracted within a few months, beginning a decade-long period of stability
- the city's bus fleet has been almost completely renewed or replaced
- there is a renewed enthusiasm for public transport at central government level
Benefits of joint management
- Bus routes being designed and implemented to be more compatible with the roading network
- Bus infrastructure implemented more quickly and efficiently by joint, simultaneous decision making
Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin asks the Otago Regional Council to negotiate and develop a model of shared management and funding of the Dunedin bus network with the Dunedin City Council for consultation and implementation as part of both councils' 2019 Annual Plan process.
We envisage the shared model as including:
- public transport rates similar to those paid at present by Dunedin ratepayers but split between DCC and ORC rates bills
- a joint governance committee of all Dunedin constituency ORC councillors and the same number of DCC councillors
- a management team of staff seconded from both councils and jointly employed by both, headed by a "bus tsar" personally responsible for all aspects of both councils' statutory duties in public transport management and infrastructure provision
Further, we note that there is a suggestion for governance to be handed fully to the DCC, which we would also support.
PART 3: Improvement to the Dunedin bus network over the next ten years
This new bus route is showing its potential, but not meeting it. The frequency is just too low, being mainly hourly. It therefore creates few extra journey opportunities at points around the "Ring" zone where it intersects with the long-existing radial bus routes. The ends of the Ridge Runner, at the Stadium and Andersons Bay Rd are not destinations in their own right, and more potential is lost by not having the route continue past these points.
Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin requests that the Ridge Runner service be increased to run quarter-hourly throughout the day, and complete a full circle by linking both ends via the waterfront. We believe this route will become one of the most popular routes, and remain so at all hours of the day. By running via the developing waterfront it will introduce bus travel to a large employment district and aid the economic revitalisation of this area. The "Orbiter" in Christchurch is a successful example of such a route.
There have been repeated calls for better connections for southern routes to South Dunedin, and these have not been answered to the community's satisfaction. We see opportunity in linking the many routes that terminate in this area, just short of one another:
Route 70, Brighton to Concord Route 37/38, city to Concord Routes 50 and 33 to Corstorphine Route 5/6 to Lookout Point Route 63 nominally to Balaclava but actually goes to Lookout Point
The Green Island hill should become a place where journeys are made, not blocked. We understand the regional council felt unable to justify a full extension of Route 70 to Dunedin as a "local" all-stops service parallel to the 77 express route. By linking up some of the above routes, many more journey possibilities could be opened up. A location needs to be found for a "super hub" linking all routes in the area. Maybe Lookout Point, with additional stops on the highway added for Route 77, maybe the existing Green Island hub. This "Southern gateway", wherever it was, would become a sort of Cargills Corner, with bus routes converging from all directions.
Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin requests that the Otago Regional Council investigate linking many services presently terminating in the Corstoorphie-Lookout Point-Green Island area, to create a Southern Gateway to the city.
Very few suburbs are as poorly served as Dunedin's City Rise, an area of lower incomes with high density population and many older residents, students and families with young children. The area is dominated by rental residents, not homeowners. It is served by only one bus stop, which is unable to be used by wheelchair users and other mobility-impaired people. The regional council has ruled out reinstating the former bus route via Canongate, but community dissatisfaction remains, as does the exclusion from the bus service of many people with mobility impairment in this area.
In Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin's submission to the 2014 Regional Public Transport Plan we provided a route concept that would allay many of the above concerns, yet be cheaper to run than the present route due to slightly lower mileage. It would allow connection to shopping and medical services in Mornington and also provide better journey opportunities by providing a connection to other routes near Mornington.
To quote: We oppose the removal of service from the Arthur St area. We think a one way loop including this area is a fair, accessible and affordable design for a Belleknowes service in keeping with the "main roads" policy.
Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin requests that Route 19 be terminated with a one-way clockwise "Belleknowes Loop" service running from the Rattray St/Arthur St corner along Arthur St and Maori Rd to the Mornington shops, thence via Kenmure Rd, Ross St and City Rd back to Arthur St. See this Google map:
We note the Mosgiel service is regularly overloaded at peak times, with instances of people having to catch earlier buses to avoid a half-hour standing journey. We believe the proposed Airport bus service would go a long way to assisting with this problem, as long as Airport buses have a stop near the entrance to Mosgiel as part of their journey (we also hope they would include stops in Momona village, Allanton and East Taieri). Our suggestions for a "Southern Gateway" of improved links in the Green Island area would also help by dispersing the peak load of Mosgiel traffic over more routes.
Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin requests that the Airport bus be integrated in to the Mosgiel bus service, aimed at providing journeys over many Taieri communities including an extra-fast Mosgiel to Dunedin link"
The Mosgiel Loop service travels every 40 minutes while the Route 77 express to Dunedin goes every 30, so the services only meet up once in a blue moon. Also the Mosgiel Loop does not serve many newly expanding parts of Mosgiel and does not connect with long distance buses at the entrance to Mosgiel, where a possible Airport bus might also stop.
Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin asks that the Mosgiel Loop service be extended to other areas and re-timed to connect with all Route 77 buses and any Airport bus service
PART 4: School transport
We note the following policy in the 2014 Regional Public Transport Plan 5. ORC will progressively withdraw from providing contracted school bus services. The new Dunedin bus network and ticketing system enables school pupils to access their school of choice without the need for separate school bus services provided by ORC. This means:
(a) school pupils will use the public transport network for their journey to and from school
(b) some pupils may have a short walk from the bus stop to their school, and vice versa
In our submission to the 2014 RPTP, Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin did not oppose this policy. Since that time, several ORC school bus services have ceased, to brief mild protest but many pupils were able to adapt to the travel on the public bus network. When a large Dunedin bus company decided to end its commercial school runs, there was much more anguish. One particular run, Portobello to Tahuna Intermediate, regularly ran with a full load. We note the request by parents of this school for the ORC to become involved in school transport. We also note the concern of the ORC that many other schools might make similar requests.
The proposal to divert the school bus will, we note, make travel more inconvenient for pupils at South Dunedin schools, but less convenient for commuters to the city (by lengthening their journey). It is claimed that many more pupils will use a diverted bus. If the bus were diverted, it would become overcrowded and need an additional bus to carry the extra load, yet, as noted, it would be less convenient for its present customers.
This provides a logical justification for a relaxation of the ORC's Policy 5 (2014 RPTP).
Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin requests that the ORC consider augmenting the public buses with additional school bus services in the following instances:
- to meet unusual travel needs due to school location and area of pupils' residence
- where such travel is to and from pupils' "in-zone" school
- where there are sufficient pupils on a desired route to warrant the use of a large school bus
We commend the school bus service provided by Gisborne District Council to the ORC's consideration.
PART 5: Appendix
Our submission to the 2017 Annual Plan is repeated below and remains part of this submission to the Long term Plan
Bus Users Support Group Otepoti-Dunedin requests that the 2017-2018 Annual Plan include the following:
Bus Stops quality upgrade
A programme to upgrade bus stops in Dunedin (and Palmerston) bus network to a standard equalling or exceeding that in the NZTA Guidelines for Public Transport Infrastructure and Facilities and the World Heath Organisation's WHO Healthy Cities programme, in consultation with bus users. We suggest that improvements be made when normal road maintenance or construction is carried out so that there need not be any extra construction cost. For example, when road markings are reinstated following resealing, the yellow "bus stop" markings could be reinstated in accordance with the 'Guidelines' document. We envisage all this work would be performed by Dunedin City Council at the ORC's instruction (this list was also included in our DCC Annual Plan submission).
More bus stops
We would like the Otago Regional council to fund, and to instruct the Dunedin City Council to install, additional bus stops at the following places (this list was also included in our DCC Annual Plan submission):
- outside Tool Shed, Hillside Rd (one one side only, as the other direction is adequately served by the Caledonian Gymnasium stop)
- outside and opposite Pak n save,, Hillside Rd
- Crawford/Jervois corner
- Crawford/Jetty corner
- Outside and opposite rest home in Marne St/Somerville St Andersons Bay
- Opp/adj Clarendomn Hotel, Mclaggan St
- both sides near bushy end of Canongate/Serpentine Ave hairpin corner
- Both sides Portobello Rd near Portsmouth Drive/Shore St corner
In most cases these proposed stops are not "improvements" as such but bring routes up to standard to comply with the ORC Regional Public Transport Plan 2014 Policy 18 "(a) In built-up urban areas, spacing between bus stops of 300 and 400m are desirable in most situations, certainly no more than 500m apart and no less than 200m apart."
We request the following stops to maintain bus service accessibility in the Octagon area when the Bus Hub is built (these were requested in our submission to the Bus Hub consultation):
- opp/adj Bracken Court, Moray Pl (to replace Savoy/Tip Top stops)
- Opp/adj Library steps (to replace Civic Centre/BNZ stops; could be served by Concord-Port Chalmers bus. We are advised by DCC that although Moray Pl is often closed for graduation, George St and Octagon is always open at such times)
Further improvements to the Dunedin bus service
- Immediate reinstatement of the half hourly frequency during weekdays on the City to Belleknowes end of Route 19 and rapid introduction of half hourly frequency on the Waverly end, to bring this route up to the standards of most other routes. It is unfair to treat this route differently due only to its historically poorer service level as Waverly and Belleknowes ratepayers pay the same public transport levy on their ORC rates.
- Buses after 6pm on Sundays and Public Holidays: We would like these days made identical to Saturday services. We agree that to pay for this, the three normal weekdays that fall between each Christmas and New Year, known as "interstats", (and possibly a few days immediately after New Year) could be changed to run at Saturday service levels to lower costs at a very low-demand time of year.
- Full Public Holiday bus service on Christmas Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The Otago Heritage Bus Society, we hope, wouldn't mind being done out of a job but they have demonstrated that there is a clear unmet demand.
- We would like an Airport bus to be introduced, possibly by extending some Mosgiel services. We think the Waitati/Harington Pont, Waikouaiti and Palmerston fare zones would be appropriate for fares to Allanton, Momona and the Airport respectively.
Changes to fares
- Community service card discount to replace the very limited "beneficiary" discount. In return for this we would agree to Cash fares rounded up to the nearest dollar.
- The minimum top up should be $5 to make use of Go Cards more accessible to people on lower incomes, or at least this lower minimum topup should be available to holders of Community Services Cards, students, elderly and children
- We would like the Go Card Adult fare to be set as the "standard" fare (subject to publicly consulted adjustments) with discount fares and cash fares calculated from thgis base fare. We don't object to cash fares incurring a surcharge in line with the increased costs of collection and the desirability of electronic ticketing for multiple reasons, plus rounding up as detailed above.
- We support the publicly notified fares being the declared maximum permitted fare with council staff and/or bus operators being given discretion to offer discounts of various types from time to time.
- Weekly/Monthly bus passes should be considered.