New bus routes

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Queenstown Lakes District Council will make an early start on some of 17 new bus stops in anticipation of an expanded and subsidised Connectabus network from July. 

As well as boosted frequency on existing routes, new services will run to Kelvin Heights, Arthurs Point, Quail Rise and Lake Hayes. 

Council paperwork reveals QLDC will get weaving on seven new stops – four in Arthurs Point and three in Robins and Gorge Roads – to avoid “pressure on suppliers”. 

Even if there’s a hiccup in the subsidised bus network, QLDC infrastructure strategy boss Denis Mander explains, the seven stops will be useful pick-up points for Coronet Peak ski coaches. 

Work on the other 10 stops must await final commitment to the expanded network by Otago Regional Council – expected any day now. 

ORC will subsidise Connectabus and reimburse free off-peak travel for SuperGold cardholders. 

Part-subsidised in turn by the New Zealand Transport Agency, ORC will then strike a “Wakatipu transport rate” levying local ratepayers for the balance of the subsidy. 

Consultation with residents affected by the planned new bus stops has thrown up objections, Mander reports, and hearings will be scheduled if issues can’t be mediated. 

ORC originally hoped to have the new network launched by the end of 2009 but delays in NZTA approval scotched that.