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Notes of a meeting between Otago Regional Council and Bus Go Dunedin Tuesday, 17 December 2013

(Note, this is a draft subject to confirmation by parties in attendance)

Thanks to Jane Turnbull for supplying her meeting notes on which the following is based.

For ORC: Peter Bodeker, Jane Turnbull, Suzanne Watt For Bus Go: Peter Dowden, Alex King, Lynley Hood, Phillipa Wilson

Peter Bodeker opened by posing the question of "what we needed to do to get more people on buses." A wide ranging general discussion ensued.

Matters discussed:

  • marketing/advertising:
    • Bus Go suggested a Gobus Facebook page (which could also be used to contact regular viewers to advise of service changes) and promotional signs on bus shelters carefully designed within any restrictions against advertising
  • Status sought by Bus Go as a legitimate representative of Dunedin's bus users, acknowledged that this status can only be earned
    • after the meeting, Jane Turnbull said ORC would "use Bus Go members, from time to time, to test actions we propose or are considering"
  • price of fares
    • Bus Go suggested that Community Services Card holders be given the discount presently offered to Go Card Extra holders, namely 25% off, and an attempt was made using a "supply and demand" graph to illustrate how this could increase revenue as extra users would compensate for the reduced revenue from some existing users
    • Peter Bodeker said it [the conclusion that could be drawn] depended on the shape of the graph
    • after the meeting, Jane Turnbull said "In the fare review we are looking at who should be eligible for a concession fare"
    • The alternative of an off-peak fare was discussed. It was pointed out that the Gold Card free bus travel off-peak was an efficient use of resources.
  • transfer ticketing
    • The ORC position is "Transfer ticketing needs to wait on development of a new ticketing system being developed by a group of regional councils; that is around two and a half to three years away"
    • The Bus Go position is that there is enough information in today's paper-based ticketing system for it to be made to work if there is the will; transfer ticketing on present system already exists where passengers transfer at Green Island
  • wheelchair accessibility: some buses only take the smallest size of wheelchair, various standards in place in fleet depend on origin, model and age of bus
    • Jane advised that ORC is about to develop (this coming year) an information system so users know about suitability of each bus for those in different types of wheelchairs
  • comprehensibility of timetable booklet
    • Bus Go requested that "inward route numbers", which are not displayed on many bus destination signs, be deleted from the booklet and bus stop timetables, as they can confuse passengers
  • route numbering: ORC intends reviewing this system as we develop the plans for a 'new network'; will seek Bus Go input
    • Bus Go position is that buses should have the same route number in either direction, as is usual worldwide
  • prams on buses:
    • Bus Go concerned that these are treated as an "obstruction" of a bus rather than a means by which small children can safely board and alight bus; parallel drawn with wheelchair users
    • after the meeting, Jane Turnbull said ORC would "talk to bus operators about their operational policy regarding pushchairs/prams"
  • regularity of timetable
  • structure of the fare system: ORC considering having only two fare zones
    • Lynley Hood supported this
    • Peter Dowden expressed reservation that this would raise fares for many people (present short-distance travellers for example) and that "more distance, more money" was a reasonable means of levying fares
  • Corstorphine route: dissatisfaction over route extensions, loss of ability to use service as a loop
    • after the meeting, Jane Turnbull said ORC would "review entire Corstorphine route in New Year (starting this week, in fact)"

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