Next stop: the bus hub, ready for first passengers

Otakou kaumatua Edward Ellison leads a karakia before the official opening of the hub yesterday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Otakou kaumatua Edward Ellison leads a karakia before the official opening of the hub yesterday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Dunedin's bus hub is open for business.

The new centre of the city's public transport was officially opened yesterday and the first bus was set to park there this morning before continuing its route.

The $5.4million Otago Regional Council project includes 10 bus bays in Great King St between Moray Pl and St Andrew St as well as shelters and plantings.

The opening started with a moment of silence for the Christchurch mosque shooting victims and was followed with a karakia and ribbon cutting.

Routes will be redirected into the hub over the next week.

At the opening, regional councillor Trevor Kempton said as the city continued to grow, a modern and reliable public transport network was essential.

Buses were an increasingly necessary alternative as the council tried to combat climate change, he said.

He thanked retailers in the hub area for their patience during construction.

The regional council said passenger numbers in Dunedin had plateaued at 2million annually for years, but were on track for between 2.4million and 2.6million this year.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said to truly become a ''world-class city'' it needed a greater uptake by bus users.

''The hub makes it easier for that to happen.''

He was ''bemused'' at people wanting to ''keep things the way they were years ago'' in terms of being able to drive freely on main streets or easily find car parks in the city.

''They're forgetting there are 20,000 more people and 40,000 more cars. The message is: things have to change.''

NZ Transport Agency southern regional director Jim Harland said the hub's location was extremely important and through ''luck or good planning'' it was very close to the new hospital site.

The completion date is five months later than planned last year due to unexpected ground conditions and closing over the Christmas shopping period.

Some businesses have said construction heavily affected sales.

Smiths Sports Shoes co-owner Greg Lapwood said that

nobody wanted the hub to work more than he did.

''It's a shame nobody wants to take responsibility over what happened over the last eight months.''

Refined Rig clothing store director Peter Dean said he hoped the hub would be ''a positive thing''.

Generation Zero Dunedin co-convener Adam Currie said it was good the regional council was ''starting to actually do something'' about public transport in the city.



Did they mention they took away the bus service from Canongate? How do these central city people carry their goods home up the hill from their nearest shops? Or return from medical care when they are feeling ill? Some have had to move home. Poor planning ORC