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Appeals to deal with bus disruption

The continued disruption to Dunedin’s bus services has prompted calls for serious action to deal with it.

“No one should be left on the side of the road when the timetable says a bus is coming,” said Alex King, co-chairman of Bus Users Support Group Otepoti.

Cancellations were common and frustrating, he said.

Services were again hit by a series of cancellations over the weekend and the Otago Regional Council attributed this mainly to driver illness.

Mr King said if bus companies cannot meet their schedules they may need to be adjusted at short notice to make them more realistic.

It was preferable to “that the buses do not arrive at random”.

Bus passengers could use an app for alerts, but not everyone had it and real-time information was not provided on display screens at the Great King St bus hub, it said. -he declares.

Mr King suggested a requirement to bring transportation such as taxis, to ensure no one is stranded.

The council did not say when it expects services to return to normal.

“Unfortunately we don’t know how long the disruption will last, but we wish our drivers the best of luck in their recovery,” said transport board spokesman Julian Phillips.

Mr King said the lack of a date when people could expect normal services to resume was not good enough.

Mr Phillips said the situation was exacerbated by a nationwide shortage of bus drivers.

“Bus operators are doing their best to manage disruptions with their available staff.”

Dunedin Tram Union Secretary Philip Matthews confirmed there was driver illness.

“The strange driver catches Covid,” Mr Matthews said.

“We don’t deny it.

“The biggest problem is that we are so short of drivers.”

Mr Matthews said the drivers were not paid enough.

Changing that would help, he said.

“We are massively short of drivers,” Mr Matthews said.

“When one or two get sick, we can’t replace them.”

He doubted that every effort was made to find drivers to cover routes when staff were sick.

Cancellations damage the reputation of the service, he said.

“It’s been about two months now.

“I know customers are irritated.”

The council has contracted Go Bus Transport and Ritchies Transport to run services in Dunedin.

Mr Phillips said the disruptions affected the network as a whole and notifications were regularly updated on the council’s communication channels.

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