Queenstown $2 bus fare proposal will be paid for with significant rates hike

An Otago Regional Council graphic shows the four proposed routes for a new Queenstown bus system.
Rhys Chamberlain

An Otago Regional Council graphic shows the four proposed routes for a new Queenstown bus system.

New bus routes and $2 fare proposals for Queenstown will be offset by ratepayers shelling out an extra $1.38 million to fund the project.

The Otago Regional Council is proposing to charge $690,000 via its rates - an additional $30 on a residential property valued at $600,000.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is also proposing to seek an additional $690,000 under its Draft Annual Plan, released yesterday. The exact impact on a single property is not yet clear.

It is understood the government funded New Zealand Transport Agency will contribute a similar amount.

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The regional council released details of the scheme during a Wakatipu public transport stakeholder workshop in Queenstown on Tuesday.

Support services manager Gerard Collings called the proposal for a $2 flat fare trial across the Wakatipu a "significant leap of faith" by the councils and the NZTA.

"It's the council or effectively the ratepayer that will pay for the subsidy."

It was hoped the new system would be in place by September-October this year.

Collings presented four new, simplified bus routes on a co-ordinated timetable including one to Jacks Point where buses don't presently run.

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The fleet would increase from 15 vehicles an hour to 25 to 30, transporting 2000 passengers an hour.

A new ticketing system was also in the pipeline for the future where bus GoCards - costing $5 with a top-up minimum of $10 - could be paid online and real-time travel tracking information was available.

GoCards would be available on buses and businesses in the Wakatipu as well as from Queenstown Airport where travellers would be encouraged to take the bus to central Queenstown before picking up their rental car.

The proposal would not include a park and ride system.

Collings hoped "ridiculous" parking levies in the CBD would go up alongside the bus proposal to encourage bus transport.

A water taxi option was also on the cards bus would not be part of the initial changes.

Public consultation on the proposal could be given at orc.govt.nz/qtbus. Submissions close on April 21.

Public drop-in sessions:

- Remarkables Park Market, Saturday, March 25, 9am-2pm

- Five Mile Countdown, Saturday, March 25, 2.30pm-5.30pm

- Arrowtown Library Green, Sunday, March 26, 9.30am-12.30pm

- O'Connell's Shopping Centre, Sunday, March 26, 1.30pm-4.30pm

- Queenstown Airport, Wednesday March 29, 11am-4pm.

 - Stuff

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