New school bus route to be trialled in 2015

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 03/12/2013

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The school bus services look likely to change as the Invercargill City Council overhauls the routes.

The council is planning new routes for secondary school buses, with one route proposed to encompass all city high schools.

Council senior traffic management officer Eddie Cook said the council would work on the new initiative next year in the hope of rolling it out in 2015.

The idea was to make the bus system more cost effective and ensure that every student in the city who could get to a bus stop could attend whatever school they wanted.

"We're proposing at the moment to implement a school bus route that travels past every school."

The idea would mean there would be one route, with two buses travelling both clockwise and anti-clockwise, he said.

Mr Cook said the council was now trying to work out how to design the most efficient route and ensure it was as quick as possible so students did not have to spend long periods of time on the bus.

"The worst-case scenario is if you are going from the far end of south Invercargill to James Hargest College."

The council planned to run a trial at the beginning of 2015 to see if the scheme was successful, before any changes were introduced.

There are now five morning suburban bus services in Invercargill and six in the afternoon, he said.

The council planned to consult with high schools and the community next year, he said.

Presently you could not get to every high school from all parts of the city and the proposed changes were a way of remedying that, he said.

Aurora College principal Robyn Hickman welcomed the idea of the new routes.

Some students had to change buses when travelling from Waikiwi and the new proposal would eliminate that need, she said.

The trial would be beneficial to ensure the council was making the right decision.

"It's a good idea to trial it first."

James Hargest College principal Andy Wood said he did not know how many pupils travelled by suburban buses to school but it was a "significant amount".

He was unsure how it would affect the pupils but looked forward to finding out more information about the overhaul.

Southland Girls' High School, Southland Boys' High School and Verdon College principals did not return calls. 

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