Community, Council

Safety fears see bus service scaled back

The Blenheim bus service will be reduced from July 1. Photo: Matt Brown

Fears overworked bus drivers could crash will see Blenheim’s bus service cut.

The service will be reduced amid safety fears following the introduction of new health and safety laws.

Marlborough District Councillors say the new rules has “caused some angst” in the public transport sector.

Staff stay drivers are struggling to keep to the timetable and cutbacks must be made to ensure staff get  a chance to “rest, refresh and take care of personal matters”.

In a report to council’s asset and services committe, finance officer David Craig says the complex changes has been a “significant challenge”.

‘From a health and safety perspective there is concern that this is applying pressure on the drivers to keep  to schedule, which could lead to a serious incident.

“One of the issues with the current timetable is that there is no layover between trips,” he says.

Richies Transport Holdings Ltd are struggling to keep to the current timetable.

Congestion in the town centre, route extensions and another circuit have all added to the problem.

The service costs $176,350 a year to deliver with passengers charged $2 a ticket for a single trip.

Under new plans, council will reduce the number of circuits from six to four on a weekday and from four to three on a Saturday.

Changes were expected to cost more than $11,000 but following negotiations with Richies $11,627 dollars will be saved as the service is cut back.

“It was going to be funded from general rates but there’s no need now,” David says.

“We will be monitoring to see what impact this has on patronage. We get the statistics every month and I expevt to see that instead of conveying 9 people a journey, it will be more like 15-20 people”.

The existing service is operated by one bus, alternating around two different routes and a full circuit of both routes was designed to take around an hour.

Council have recommended the changes which will come into force on 1 July 2019.

Previous ArticleNext Article

Send this to a friend