TRANSPORT

Queenstown bus service proves its worth

Wednesday 8 August 2012, 1:52PM
By Otago Regional Council
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OTAGO

The Queenstown bus service is moving towards becoming fully commercialised, having been subsidised by the Otago Regional Council (ORC) for the past two years.

ORC awarded a contract to Connectabus, of Queenstown, in 2010, to operate a combination of subsidised and non-subsidised services on a trial basis.

The subsidised services are Queenstown to Arthurs Point, Frankton to Kelvin Heights, and Glenda Drive/Quail Rise/Lake Hayes Estate, while the commercial services are Queenstown to Arrowtown, Remarkables Park, and Fernhill/Sunshine Bay.

ORC director of corporate services Wayne Scott said the Arthurs Point service would be the first one to become fully commercial and operate without a subsidy from the end of September. It would operate with a reduced subsidy in the meantime.

Connectabus was reviewing the timetable for the remaining services so they would ultimately reflect usage and peak service requirements. Any changes would ideally be in place by the end of this calendar year.

Mr Scott said Wakatipu people had been very supportive of the trial, and this had given the operator confidence to ultimately operate the service on a stand-alone basis.

This was borne out by patronage figures across the network which saw the number of trips taken rise from 517,758 in the 2010-11 financial year to 619,816 in the 2011-12 financial year.