Bus Talk 2: Extreme weather tests buses

Bus Talk column - 28 July 2017

With bus service disruptions a-plenty caused by weather conditions recently, we’d like to thank bus users for their patience – and the operators and drivers for their efforts in keeping the service running, where possible, under challenging conditions.

Surface flooding, slips and road closures were all in the mix over the weekend and into this week, meaning parts of many standard bus routes were inaccessible. The snowy day two weeks ago also saw plenty of disruptions to the service – frosts and black ice are regular culprits through the winter months.

Ensuring safety for passengers and staff is always the top priority, meaning it’s a real challenge for service operators at GoBus and Ritchies to juggle getting as many services running to their usual timetables as possible in extreme weather conditions.

From as early as 5.30am, the duty supervisors assess road conditions and must quickly determine which areas buses need to avoid. Monitoring continues throughout the day and into the evening.

As assessments are made and new information comes to hand, communications are also in top gear as operators brief drivers on the road across the network and keep the Regional Council constantly updated.

At the Regional Council end, we stay in close contact with the operators and publish bus advisories on our website and Facebook page every time the situation changes.

Both service operators are thanking passengers and praising drivers after the weekend’s flood. 

GoBus Dunedin manager Ben Barlow said operating in extreme weather is challenging for both drivers and passengers, while John Ayoub, Ritchie’s Dunedin branch manager, said it had been one of the most trying weekends ever.

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