Monday, 21 July 2008

OPINION: How to get to town each day with out going bankrupt

As the cost of transport fuel keeps rising I get more and more nervous
about how I can keep living in beautiful Blueskin Bay and carry on
working in Dunedin. I expect that like many of you, I am finding
petrol price rises beginning to bite! What I really worry about is not
the cost today but what it will be in a year, two years or five years
time.

So what are my options? I could ride a bike, and if this were the
Canterbury Plains, that might almost be realistic, but until they put
a tunnel through Mt Cargill, I know I'd never make it.

I could part with my trusted, all purpose, diesel station wagon and
buy a little, modern, low fuel use, bubble car but the price tag puts
me off.

I could get a little motorbike again but actually I think I'm a bit
old and wimpy. The motorbike was ok, except when it was windy, really
wet or foggy. I got completely lost and disoriented on the top of Mt.
Cargill one foggy night many years ago, I could still see the road but
just had problems with my internal GPS. All that gear to help keep me
warm and provide protection is a bit of a drag too.

I could go back to hitchhiking but this makes me feel a little
nervous. Is the world a bit scarier these days or am I a little less
naïve? The new Ride Share Scheme starting in Waitati sounds great. If
this gets going and thrives, it offers a definite glimmer of hope.

What about the bus service? It only runs three times a day, never at
night or in the weekends, but Graeme the driver is a nice guy and the
bus is warm and comfortable. I've been gently trying to convince
myself that despite the lack of flexibility of being tied to the bus
times (and the anxiety it seems to create in someone who is often
running late and always thinks they've missed the bus) that compared
to the rising cost of running a car, the bus is a reasonable deal.

However the Otago Regional Council does not appear to think we deserve
a service equal to that in Brighton, Portobello or other areas on the
margins of Dunedin and has made an across the board price rise of 25%.
So the Dunedin to Waitati/Evansdale fare rises from $5 to $6.25 –
though you can still get the miserable 10% reduction if you have a "Go
Card". The highest fare in other parts of Dunedin was $4, to get all
the way to Harrington Point on the Peninsula (30k). I think the fares
for our area should have stayed the same, then more lazy car drivers
like me might be lining up for the bus and with more customers Graeme
could consider extending the service; more buses each day and maybe
even a late night one so we could catch a movie, do the grocery
shopping or go to the pub for a couple of hours after work.

The Otago Regional Council will say that to avoid increased bus fares,
ratepayers will have to contribute more towards the bus service
through rates. Well I don't mind if we do. There are more people who
are not so well resourced using buses; young people, elderly and
lower-waged workers, and as rates are based partly on the value of
your property, those of us who are better off can help maintain an
accessible and affordable bus service, while those who can afford it
will still drive their cars and pay ever increasing prices at the
pump.

by Geraldine Tait

--
--
From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media:
voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff,
Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public
domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished.
If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".

No comments: