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Fed-up: A vehicle is forced to drive off the road as it passes a bus on Thelma Mason's Thomson Street

An elderly Arrowtowner is gutted her once peaceful, narrow street is now a highway for turning buses.

But Orbus, the local bus service managed by the Otago Regional Council (ORC), has no plans to change.

Thelma Mason, 77, has been living at the same Thomson Street address for more than 30 years but since November last year Orbus buses have started using it as a means to loop back and head in the opposite direction, at the end of their route.

“I’ve just found it really stressful to think that for as long as I live this is going to carry on in my peaceful, quiet street.

“They’re going to send a bus past every hour forever more.”

She says 18 buses speed past her house every day, starting at 6am, or over 500 a month.

“It affects me all day long, it’s like having eczema, it’s just a constant itch.”

If the buses meet another vehicle on Thomson St, the car driver has to partially pull off the road to make room for the bus.

ORC services boss, Gerard Collings, says it’s safe and a route change would mean “added cost to the service”.

“Locations are determined with the operator [Ritchies], based on the most cost-effective and efficient use of the public roading network,” he says.

According to the Orbus timetable map, the buses come into Arrowtown on the Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Road, into Berkshire Street, turn right along Buckingham St, right again into Bedford St which continues on to Centennial Avenue, and then right into Adamson Drive.

What the map doesn’t show is the buses then either turn left into Fox’s Terrace or Ritchie St and along Thomson St where Mason lives.

Collings says consultation was not a requirement because it’s a public road.

Krista Baker moved house in November, five days after Orbus launched, because she couldn’t stand buses idling outside her home in Fernhill, another route-end. She’s now living peacefully in Shotover Country.

“As soon as I realised nothing was going to stop them I knew I had to move house – I’d been there nearly eight years.

“I’m now paying $400 a week more to be able to sleep at night, which is crap, but the children need to sleep.”

mandy.cooper@scene.co.nz