City bus service being reassessed

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    Passengers board a bus at the main public transport terminal on Dee St.

    NEW bus routes and a new bus fare structure are proposed for Invercargill.

    The Invercargill City Council (ICC) is inviting the public to submit ideas about the proposed new routes and fare structure before it adopts its Regional Public Transport Plan next year.

    ICC roading manager Russell Pearson said submissions would be accepted until December 15 and would be heard by the council’s community services committee on February 26, next year.

    Mr Pearson said patronage of public transport had declined since the last round of changes, made in 2012.

    Passenger trips were down 24% from 262,000 in December 2012 to 198,826 in June 2017. Before 2012 the city had 10 separate bus routes – it now has four. The proposed new routes were a direct response to customer feedback, he said.

    More direct routes – with three buses running on routes north and then south throughout the day, but threading back through the city centre every time – have been proposed.

    The new routes would provide shorter travel times, he said.

    “We have tried to incorporate all the stops where people currently get on and off.”

    A flat fare proposal was also being suggested to make the service fairer and easier to understand, he said.

    “The existing peak and off-peak fares do not provide users incentives to travel and have been reasonably unsuccessful.”

    The proposed new cost for all users paying with a Bus Smart card was $2 per trip, with the ability to transfer between different buses within a 30-minute trip. For passengers paying cash the fare would be $3, he said.

    However, fares might require regular updates to ensure users were paying their share of costs, he said.

    Regular bus user Julie Gregory, of Invercargill, said Invercargill’s bus service needed to be more regular.

    Paulette Davis, also of Invercargill, busses home from work daily through the week and she said the service was “quite handy” at the moment. “It’s normally every three-quarters of an hour, it’s pretty good.”

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