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Sigh. What is it about bus hubs that invariably attract the sort of people who get a kick out of unsavoury behaviour?
What should be a heartening mix of practical facility and communal asset, a place for people to leave and arrive and transfer with ease, or to meet and greet and wait in comfort and peace, can be turned into an unpleasant experience by those with either limited attention spans or a frustrating desire to cause nuisance.
It happens in many large bus hubs around the globe, so perhaps it is no surprise it has reared its head in Dunedin.
The city’s long-awaited hub has had the odd teething issue but, by and large, it has been a great success. Its practicality, allied with cheaper fares, has made it more appealing than ever to leave the car at home and take the bus.
What a shame to hear reports of youths causing headaches by fighting, drinking, and huffing aerosols.
Police say there has been a spike in reports of issues involving young people at the hub, and talk of schools sending representatives to keep an eye on their pupils.
Police — based, of course, at the station smack-bang in the middle of the hub — have been sending out patrols through the area, but obviously can’t be there around the clock.
The general impression is that these youths have been relishing their ability to be pain in the neck or, worse, intimidate waiting travellers.
And it must not be tolerated.
The bus hub, like a library or pool or art gallery, is a public asset that must be a safe and practical space, where old and young people of all types should be absolutely confident they can gather and travel without feeling like they are surrounded by juvenile delinquents.
With that in mind, how disappointing to hear CCTV cameras are not yet operational at the hub.
Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen said police were eager to be able to access better security camera surveillance at the site.
"Cameras would help us follow up on any reports, and we’re looking forward to them coming on board. There’s been quite a delay since they were first proposed."
Quite why the cameras have not been turned on seems a mystery. Most local buses have them on-board, but it seems a no-brainer to get them operating along the hub.
Using CCTV to monitor and weed out those responsible for making a mess, for causing a disturbance and for making citizens feel unsafe is an obvious and effective tool.
It is our bus hub, and we must ensure it does not become the playground for the bored and the mischievous.
Get those cameras rolling.