Terminal would 'ruin' The Square

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 12/05/2012

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A central city bus terminal is unnecessary and would ruin The Square, and Palmerston North's two marketing and development groups are calling for a rethink of the proposal.

Destination Manawatu chief executive Lance Bickford said the terminal should not be located inside the ring road, and has asked the city council to stop "and have a cup of tea".

"It's unnecessary, and will negatively impact on enjoyment of The Square," he told councillors hearing submissions on the draft long-term plan this week.

"The Square is world class, and the last thing we should do is park 16 smelly buses there pouring out carbon monoxide.

"The plans to congregate so many buses at one time, in one place, right in the middle of the city, makes no sense whatsoever."

Vision Manawatu chief executive Elaine Reilly has also made a submission saying the central terminal would detract from the use of The Square and hurt business.

The council's draft plan includes $4,235,000 for a combined regional and urban bus terminal at The Square end of Main St east, with various options for parking the regional buses alongside or in The Square by the i-site.

A decision on the preferred layout has not been made, but is expected next month. The work is scheduled for the 2012-13 year.

One of the key drivers for a change is the rundown state of the leased, regional bus terminal on the corner of Pitt and Main Streets.

Mr Bickford agreed a central stop for regional buses was important, and that there was some urgency about providing a place for them.

There was no need for commuter buses to park at a central city terminal, he said. Buses should be encouraged to move through and past the central business district, rather than congregate in the middle of it.

The council needed to consider whether the current bus routes were the best for the future, or whether a grid system would be better.

"To assume that the future will continue to be served by 16-metre-long buses and to build major infrastructure to cope with that configuration would be a grave mistake."

Mr Bickford said better and more frequent services, supported by bus shelters around the ring road, and routes that passed through the central business district, were more likely to meet people's public transport needs in the future.

Regular bus user Gwen Morris said it seemed no-one had ever asked passengers for their views.

"Where will the toilets be? Will we have to cross the road to the i-site? Where will we catch a taxi? Where will we go to buy a drink, with our bags with us?" Existing facilities were, "a bit cruddy", but she was not sure the middle of the business district was the answer.

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- Manawatu Standard

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