Location of bus hub seen as crucial

The site for the proposed Dunedin bus hub may become clearer in the next two months after a panel considering the future of the city's public transport system heard a central, accessible location was ''critical''.

Representatives from Go Bus, a company contracted to the Otago Regional Council to provide services in Dunedin, told the panel a new network would rely ''heavily'' on good interchange infrastructure, which needed to be accessible, with good security, shelter and waiting areas.

That call came as a panel of Otago regional councillors Sam Neill and Michael Deaker and city councillor Aaron Hawkins sat last week to consider submissions from about 330 people and organisations on the draft regional public transport plan.

The draft plan would introduce a raft of changes expected to lead to faster and more direct routes away from smaller residential streets.

It included a central-city hub, allowing passengers to transfer to different routes.

When the draft plan was released in June, ORC support services manager Gerard Collings said the hub could include buildings or be as simple as a bus stop area on the street.

Go Bus business development director Russell Turnbull told the panel during hearings the location of the hub would dictate how attractive it was to customers and how efficient the network would be.

''It needs a quality location,'' Mr Turnbull said.

As well, it needed to be secure, possibly with security guards or CCTV cameras.

Mr Turnbull's submission questioned what it would mean for the network if the Dunedin City Council, which may take over the system in about three years, and the New Zealand Transport Agency did not come up with adequate funding ''for this critical interchange infrastructure''.

Dunedin city councillor Kate Wilson said in her submission the council also saw the hub as ''pivotal''.

Mr Collings said after the hearing the ORC was discussing sites with the city council, the NZTA and bus operators.

''Within a couple of months, we should have a better understanding of what the options are.''

-david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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