Dunedin Buses – Route planners don’t consider effects on local business


With a new central city bus hub proposed for Great King St and further route changes planned, how extensive has council consultation been with local businesses and retailers? We suspect ‘minimal’ if not at all.
Don’t mention car parking.

In the absence of sound economic modelling carried out in public domain – the collective study of cause and effect – ‘top-down’ imposed route changes are the death knell to small business operators and their livelihoods, wrecking the local retail economy, slaying the fabric, busyness and potential diversity of our town centres. Improper unconsulted changes to the bus system problematise or completely sever established movement patterns between our points of congregation. Affordable options for transit and visitation across the city are smashed and disappear. Everybody loses.

█ How much more harm can Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council inflict upon the Community of South Dunedin?

Less foot traffic in South Dunedin since changes to bus services.

### ODT Online Sun, 20 Nov 2016
New routes hurting business: retailers
By Greta Yeoman – The Star
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. […] 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. […] 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”.
Read more

● Gerard Collings [LinkedIn] is the multifarious ‘go-to’ at Otago Regional Council. Mr Collings is experienced in local body administration and community board representation. His profile shows no tertiary qualifications or accredited work experience in urban economics, business development or placemaking.
The Council has provided Mr Collings with a ‘management’ role for public transport planning and operations. He is a national certificate holder (NZTA approved proposal evaluator) – refer to NZTA Procurement Manual, sections 10.19 Qualifications of proposal evaluators and 11.2 Performance measurement and monitoring framework.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under Business, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Finance, Geography, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, ORC, People, Politics, Project management, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, South Dunedin, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design

26 responses to “Dunedin Buses – Route planners don’t consider effects on local business

  1. Mr Collings has had a forgetfulness moment.
    It certainly has been raised with him.

  2. Elizabeth

    ORC’s route changes don’t consider residents either.

    Bus users just wanted Otago Regional Council to reinstate the old route, providing a service for the densely populated Arthur St/Russell St/Canongate area.

    Sun, 27 Nov 2016
    ODT: 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 […] 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 […] the changes to the system and the off-peak timetable switching to an hourly service was “taking away independence” of users. Cont/

    As usual, the dimwit at ORC completely FAILS to understand people who do not use cars and who cannot walk long distances. It’s long past time that he should RESIGN.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      They’re supposed to use bicycles, aren’t they?

      Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of consultants and upgraded computer simulation programs, DCC and ORC staff with any planning and decision-making in their jobs should be required to to a “common person” day at least once a fortnight, following the solid week at the start of their contract. Get to a part of town away from home and leave their own or company car there, then catch bus to work, do any shopping, collect children etc before taking public transport back to their car and going home. A different part of town each time, of course, addresses chosen from suggestions perhaps submitted to the ODT’s The Wash, where readers participate in discussions, share info and supply photos relating to local issues.

      Richard Healey and Sue Bidrose combined to point out what’s wrong with the present way of doing things*, that my suggestion might start to address.
      *Don’t look for cockups, inefficiencies, reasons for dissatisfaction or breakages. Wait for someone to bring them to your attention. Pay no attention. Justify nothing being done “because we were not aware of the issue”.
      If the fan becomes so odoriferous as to attract unwelcome notice, and blobs of brown are flicking off the blades and hitting expensive suits proceed to Step 5, vilify whoever attempted to inform you of the malfunction, painting them as troublemakers, not team players etc.

      • Elizabeth

        A staff/teamleader/manager cull is the only way, helped by shedding (or docking their annual pay by half) malingerers without brains at any level of the Civic Centre or Stafford, so not to reduce options for Ratepayer savings.


        • Hype O'Thermia

          Too harsh, Elizabeth.
          MORE and LONGER junkets to China! It’s the next best thing to him not having been re-elected.

  3. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

  4. Elizabeth

    We want a direct frequent shuttle service servicing the whole metropolitan area including convenient stops at all suburban centres, and if it takes Uber to deliver it, then sobeit and stuff off ORC/DCC and your pathetic inefficient Great King St hub proposal. [See Vancouver’s truck-buses with wheelchair hoists.]

    Sun, 19 Feb 2017
    ODT: Wheels turning on bus changes
    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” […] While there were also concerns about the walking distance from the [proposed] 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. Cont/

    ORC working with NZTA to provide 50% subsidy on taxis for disabled or wheelchair-bound residents who can’t use buses.

    Ticketing changes, including ability to top up Go Cards online, delayed due to nine councils deciding what system to use, and other complications. [Mr Collings] to provide update in the next 4-6 weeks.

  5. Elizabeth

    ODT 17.2.17 (page 10)


  6. Elizabeth

    Good News

    Fri, 24 Mar 2017
    ODT: Early delivery of new buses
    The first new vehicles have joined the Go Bus fleet well ahead of schedule. Four of 16 new buses this week joined the company’s fleet delivering services on Dunedin’s urban routes. The buses were originally scheduled to be delivered in August. The four vehicles were part of a $7million investment by Go Bus in its urban fleet for the city. It is the largest investment in a Dunedin bus fleet since the 1980s. Cont/

  7. Calvin Oaten

    Four more great Hefalumps to trundle empty through the streets of Dunedin and outer suburbs. Surely there ar some people that can monitor the system and make more rational decisions regarding costs of supply, running and effectiveness. Seemingly not. But then that’s the problem throughout bureaucratic institutions, not much in the way of intellect or common sense. Simple arithmetic would surely tell these people that these huge empty buses are not the answer to effective transport. A small fleet suitable for the rush hours’ two trips to move folk to and from work then revert to the smaller ten or twelve seat versions for the rest. Just imagine the difference in capital expenditure, not to mention the running costs and impedence in the city centre. Still, it seems we will have these empty goliaths prowling the streets searching for the odd passenger for more years. Good business for the bus constructors at least.

    • Farmer

      I agree Calvin. I’m not a bus user, but do take note when I see a bus when I’m in town. Usually 2 or 3 passengers. Maybe 5 or 6. Surely someone must do stats on average number of passengers on each route at different times of the day. Surely there is a place for some mini buses or shuttles. Cheaper to buy, cheaper to run and take up less space on busy roads. I wouldn’t have thought it was that hard to work out. But I’m not in the industry. It would be good to get an explanation from someone who is.

      • Elizabeth

        The government subsidies to district councils appear to favour large buses. And now Uber is held up by legislative change…. It will get better once self-drive and electric vehicles become mainstream.

  8. Gurglars

    Large empty buses and expensive unused cycleways. We’re spending other people’s money-!Yours!!

  9. More implementation of bus route changes coming up in September. In their draft Regional Public Transport Plan, ORC proposed splitting the present University to Helensburgh via the Octagon and Wakari route (51/50) into two routes.

    One to go from Helensburgh along Balmacewen to the University via Maori Hill.

    The other to go from the Taieri Rd side of Helensburgh down Wakari through Shetland St then down Stuart St via the Octagon to Sought Dunedin (Corstorphine.)

    I live in this area and I made a submission on this proposal – it is utter madness for many reasons. But they are going ahead with it because they are tendering for these new services. I think there will be a lot of very angry people around September who will be wondering how to get their kids to school. And following winter there will be buses sliding down Shetland St in the ice (it’s really steep). Shetland St is really narrow too and I don’t know how two buses will pass. Car parking on the side of the road is going to be very tricky.

    The ORC did IMO finally look at the whole network and used sound principles to rationalise it from a historical hodge podge of individual routes. But they do not understand SYSTEMANTICS! Any system needs built-in redundancy points. The only way you can know where those points are is to listen to the users. But I think ORC consults cynically. I have never received a reply to a submission at all, let alone explaining their reasons for ignoring it. No, they do NOT listen to the users.

    What we need in Wakari/Helensburgh/Maori Hill is two overlapping routes so people have a choice on either route using a transfer to go to the city via both Roslyn and Maori Hill. And we do NOT need many through routes that go from one side of the city to the other. They exist only for the convenience of the bus contracting firms.

    Better for all routes to link (transfer) into the main north south route, Normandy to St Clair.

    (Pity the tendering system is so inflexible. ORC makes a contract with the bus company for a number of years and so get locked in.)

    {Moderated. -Eds}

    • Fascinating understanding of systems behaviour in public transport reported in a book I am currently reading called, ‘The Social Atom’ by Mark Buchanan (in DCC library Dewey Number 302.35 BUC)
      It’s about ‘self-organising systems’ which can be composed of various components including people or buses. Quoting with some omissions: In the early 1980s, transit authorities … often had several buses running on the same route during peak hours to handle the crowds. But they began getting complaints from members of the public who were waiting for 30-45 minutes for a bus, only to have three buses all arrive at once … (I am omitting an explanation of why self-organisation involving clustering happens here) … The bus authorities recognised that the problem ultimately originates in that buses on the same route were never allowed to pass one another … The authorities instructed drivers to follow new rules: if they saw another bus on the same route stopped, even if it couldn’t possibly pick up all the waiting passengers, they were to simply pass by and continue on. This broke up the natural clustering of buses, leading to more efficient transportation …..(ends)

  10. Elizabeth

    ORC bus route and timetable consultation is NOT meaningful public consultation (basically, areas of the city are losing public bus services by ORC dictatorial decree) – but the Great King St bus hub proposal is a pure abomination.

    What is customer service, ORC ? Or rather, Mr Collings ?!!

    Wed, 3 May 2017
    ODT: Mosgiel bus petition set to fail
    By John Gibb
    A petition signed by 180 people seeking retention of the Mosgiel bus service stop beside a Cumberland St supermarket seems unlikely to achieve its aim. Mosgiel resident Lynne Hill is concerned the planned bus stop change, linked to the new central bus hub, will make it harder for Mosgiel residents visiting Dunedin Hospital for medical appointments. Mrs Hill said the bus to central Dunedin stopped near the Centre City New World supermarket in Cumberland St, which was near the hospital. […] However, this stop will no longer be used, and the route will switch to the planned central bus hub in Great King St, near the central police station, when the bus hub is established later this year. This change effectively doubled the distance that passengers attending the hospital would have to walk, or they would have to wait for a connecting bus to the hospital. Cont/

  11. I agree about the Great King St bus hub. I think the only reason they put it there was because they saw it as a centrally-located city space relatively easy to secure. But I think there are going to be awful problems with buses turning in and out of it. I think it should have gone south of the Octagon somewhere along Princes St. Then it could have linked to the most frequent north/south route which is Normanby/St Clair. But I wonder if the Great King bus hub might be the first stage of taking ALL the buses out of George St. A mistake, I think. At least one frequent north/south route is needed to function as a central city shuttle. Ugh, future of central city with separated cycleway and bus hub …

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Oh Diane! Planet-savers not content with making SH1 unsafe for all, now find ways of cocking up the bus service because while buses are somewhat better than private vehicles they’re not as virtuous as bicycles. People who can’t cycle to hospital and the retailers remaining in the CBD need to be inconvenienced more, till they give up resisting the Great Plan. Bicycles almost everywhere except George (and Princes?) Streets retail blocks.
      We’ll all be grateful to them when we get used to the idea…………

      • Elizabeth

        More like China every day.

      • Have to say that transfers are the only affordable way to get a comprehensive public transport system here. Kind of mathematical inevitability. The answer for those people with disability who find getting on and off the bus and extra time a real trial is an extension of the ‘Total Mobility’ public transport assistance scheme. This scheme is presently a mere token gesture, is far too limited and restricted and hard to access. Rather than campaigning to avoid transfers, IMO those adversely affected would be better getting Total Mobility taxi vouchers to cover any extra distance to the hospital or any other essential destination. It’s much more within the ORC’s power to respond to this request immediately because it is just a budget allocation and not entangled with long-term locked-in bus route contracts.
        Actually, I will make an addition to my ORC Annual Plan submission to cover this. I have no idea what sum to ask for so I will say ten times the present allocation, make it easier to access and cover round trips. (I think it presently covers only one way.)
        If any reader is not clear what outcome I’m seeking, I mean you catch the bus as close to the hospital (or any other health care essential destination) as you can get and then you get a free taxi from there.

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    You’re so right about Shetland St, steep and when one meets an oncoming vehicle it is necessary to be VERY cautious, e.g. stop rather than pass beside a parked car.

  13. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

    Sat, 6 May 2017
    ODT: Bus patronage better
    By John Gibb
    Latest figures suggest Dunedin bus patronage has stabilised, and may even have grown slightly, after an earlier drop of about 4%. A report tabled at an Otago Regional Council finance and corporate committee earlier this week stated  patronage had risen 0.04% in the 12 months from April 1 last year to March 31 this year, compared with the 2015-16 period. Otago regional councillor Trevor Kempton, who chairs the council’s Otago regional transport committee […] remained optimistic about the future, but it would be six to 12 months before the outcome became clearer, after all the planned transport changes were in place. […] He acknowledged that extensive transport changes were still under way in the city, including finalising contracts for more direct bus routes, and the planned establishment of a central bus hub. Cont/

  14. Elizabeth

    Relocated from another thread. Relevance. -Eds

    Busy Buser
    2017/05/26 at 11:57 am

    The Regional Council merry-go-round of filling the pockets of Councillors continues. Staff while sitting twiddling fingers, decide to create themselves jobs to design new routes for buses, without any consideration of those that depend on buses to get about. The Green Island, Concord and South Dunedin bus users kick up about the service being taken away. Regional Council decide to call for submissions and a hearing (after the event). This merry go round is due to go full circle and the routes reinstated to suit the majority of bus users, rather than the recommendations of staff that thought they had the answer to everything.
    Conclusion : What has the Regional Council achieved from this bus route fiasco? Other than creating jobs designing bus routes, and lining the pockets of the Councillors hearing the submissions to sort out the stuffups of the bus route designers ??
    Back to where they started, but in the meantime staff have had fun filling in their day playing buses. The Councillors that sat on the hearing of submitters pick up a big cheque, and the CEO will be able to show on the balance sheet how much the Regional Council has been spent of the Dunedin’s public transport budget. This will justify the request from staff for an increase in funds for public transport in next years rate rise.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      No no no. Bus routes and bus stops for the convenience of bus users? That’s never going to work.
      And Hubs are A Thing, the now thing, the happening thing. Hubs are bouncing out in a block near you, stand still half an hour longer and you’ll see it happen before your very eyes. Buses need a Hub above everything bus users maybe not so much. Designers / planners need a Hub on their CVs.
      Busy Buser should adjust to going where the buses go – or staying at home feeling grateful for the superbly designed bus routes that operate to maximum efficiency (if you don’t count the needs of would-be bus users) and take everyone to and from the hub… eventually. It may take several changes, and maybe travel between Concord and Green Island needs to be planned in advance, on a long weekend perhaps…….

  15. Elizabeth

    DESPICABLE Me Otago Regional Council

    Approached for comment, council support services manager Gerard Collings said he did not agree the shelters had been removed prematurely and said this had “definitely not” preempted any full council decision.


    Sat, 24 Jun 2017
    Residents out in cold
    By John Gibb
    ….City Rise Up community group …. is “outraged” bus shelters have been removed, before next week’s Otago Regional Council vote over a discontinued section of bus route. […] At a council finance and corporate committee meeting on June 14, councillors voted six to four in favour of a recommendation to the council that the Canongate, Russell St and Arthur St areas were not reincluded in the nearby bus route. A report tabled at the committee said staff had deferred “placement of new bus infrastructure on Rattray St and the removal of existing infrastructure on the old route, until council makes a decision on this matter”. Cont/

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