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Chris Papps is chair of the Ōtaki Community Board.

Usually when I catch the Ōtaki bus I’m going from Ōtaki to Waikanae Railway Station, and doing the return journey to Wellington on the train.

I catch the bus at the stop opposite Ōtaki New World, which is the last one before Waikanae.

I’ve never travelled the full Ōtaki route.

With the closing of Rāhui Road to build the new connection over the realigned rail and expressway, the bus route has had to be changed for the seven or eight months it will take to build the bridge and make the connection.

Several residents of Rāhui, Freemans and other Waitohu area streets were concerned about the proposed bus services and where buses would stop.

One of these is Joe Stead. He and his mother are regular users and they were worried about the effects the changes would have. Joe contacted me on behalf of other bus users and, after some discussion, we agreed the best way to look at it would be for me to take him on the existing bus route so he could show me the proposed route and point out the problems bus users saw.

Until then I had not realised what a long and winding road the buses have to take from Waikanae to drop off passengers, and then up onto the Plateau to pick up the next group going south.

The drop-off and then pick-up routes take nearly an hour going up to the Plateau then down to the Beach, back up to the Plateau and then heading south again.

Having seen the route and where problems might arise, I was able to go back to Fletchers, who had been working with the bus company to sort out the temporary route once Rāhui Road closed.

Fletchers were very responsive to our comments and suggestions, and they sorted them through with the bus company.

For a while there was a bit of a problem with the bus entry to County Road – the bus drivers thought it was too narrow – but Fletchers agreed to make changes to the County Road access earlier than previously planned and that sorted that out.

Well done, Joe Stead, well done, Fletchers and well done to the bus company.

  •  Chris Papps is chair of the Ōtaki Community Board.

Taking the kinks out of a long and winding road


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