Bus hub plan on the map

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A busy block of Great King St has been identified as the preferred location for Dunedin's planned central bus hub.

The Otago Regional Council, which unveiled plans for the hub last year as part of a bus system overhaul, has identified Great King St between Moray Pl and St Andrew St as the preferred location for an on-street hub.

Council support services manager Gerard Collings said preliminary plans suggested the central hub would replace some car parks along Great King St.

''The total number of parks in that area is only a small percentage of parks in the central city,'' Mr Collings said.

The council had spoken to landowners and businesses in the area and the ''majority had no issues'' with the proposal, according to Mr Collings. Further discussions would take place when the plan was finalised.

Farmers manager Shelly Gilchrist said she was ''generally positive'' about the proposal, which would border the central city department store.

''It will increase foot traffic and it has to go somewhere. At least it is off the main road.''

She said the negative aspects of the proposal might be increased graffiti and damage in the area and the potential loss of car parks.

Mr Collings said the area had off-street parking options available. The ORC and Dunedin City Council were working to identify possible new parking spaces and changes that might have to be made to intersections to accommodate the service.

The council was awaiting a traffic engineer's report, due in the next two to three months, before finalising the project details, but the spot was selected because of its ''proximity to the CBD, hospitality, supermarket and the Octagon,'' Mr Collings said.

If the central hub was to go ahead, buses would not go through the centre of the Octagon on George or Princes Sts. The hub is part of an overall plan to provide a transport network that will co-ordinate services and use technology efficiently, such as real time on street displays, ticketing vending machines and ''tag-on tag-off'' electronic cards. Bus routes would be reduced from about 50 to 18.

The move is part of the draft regional land transport programme and the draft long-term plan but is still dependent on confirmation of funding from the regional council and NZTA.

- Elliot Parker - elliot.parker@odt.co.nz

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