ORC to consider Wakatipu ferry
A water ferry and taxi service will be investigated as part of an Otago Regional Council public transport review.
The council will discuss a report into the Regional Public Transport Plan Otago 2014 at its meeting on Wednesday.
The plan sets out the priorities and needs for public transport services and infrastructure in Otago. Services in the Wakatipu network are currently being reviewed and a submissions hearing was held in Queenstown on May 8.
As part of the changes $2 bus fares are proposed.
Over 500 submissions were received on proposed amendments of the network and 21 people presented in support of their submissions at the hearing.
Proposed changes to the network to help ease congestion and improve services include a new subsidised network of bus routes and frequencies; the introduction of a new fare zone structure and a flat fare structure; and collaboration with the Ministry of Education to provide a co-ordinated and shared approach to school services.
Hearing panel chairwoman, councillor Gretchen Robertson, who authored the report, said a number of submitters expressed a desire for a water ferry and taxi service to be integrated with the public transport services.
‘‘The panel consider that council should investigate the feasibility of an integrated ferry service.’’
The panel also recommended the council work with the Queenstown Airport Corporation to enable a coordinated approach for a public transport service to and from the airport; the outer boundaries of the network include Queenstown Bay and Jacks Point; the ability for the council to have greater flexibility to change the hours of operation and frequency of the service.
‘‘Infrastructure such as shops and shelters should be accessible, well lit, and provide shelter from the extreme climate...Safety of access to and from the network access points should be a key consideration.’’
Proposed stops at Quail Rise and Fernhill should be given ‘‘particular regard’’, it says.
The success of these changes relies on QLDC addressing the availability of low-cost parking in the Wakatipu Basin which is a direct inhibitor to the increased use of public transport, the report says.