Terminal plan 'neglects drivers'
No staffroom for employees or shelter for passengers, bus driver saysJANINE RANKIN
Bus drivers have been left out in the cold in the plans for a new Palmerston North central city bus terminal, Tranzit driver Murray Matena says.
The current Main St East site had no facilities for drivers to take a break, and neither did designs for a makeover, he said.
Mr Matena is one of more than 50 people who have made submissions to the city council about its plans.
"No consideration has been given to the drivers," Mr Matena said.
Drivers on urban bus routes had nowhere to go during their breaks now, and there were no plans to improve that in future.
If drivers wanted to use a toilet, they had to lock the bus to keep the cashbox safe, or take the cashbox with them, and walk through to public facilities in the Downtown shopping centre.
There was no staffroom or sheltered place to go and sit down, make a cup of tea or coffee, have something to eat, or read.
"Two weeks ago a passenger vomited at the terminus, and there was no-one there to clean it up, so the driver had to do that as well.
"We are not well catered for at the moment. And there is nothing in the current plan for the drivers either."
Mr Matena said if the regional coaches were moved to The Square as well, they would miss out on the facilities they now used at the corner of Pitt St and Main St West.
If passengers or drivers got off the buses at Main St East to wait for the next service, they had to sit in "the freezing cold".
Mr Matena said that, speaking as a ratepayer as well as a driver, he was worried about council plans to spend up to $8.8 million on a terminal that did not measure up to comfort standards that both drivers and passengers deserved.
The council should negotiate to use the area between Rangitikei St and Ngata St around the closed-down Fresh Central produce market, he said.
That site would provide plenty of parking for people driving to meet regional bus services, space for passengers to sit indoors, and a staffroom, toilets, and tea and coffee-making facilities for drivers.
Horizons would still have flexibility to design urban bus routes that went through The Square, with bus stops along the way, but buses would not park up there when they were out of service.
The council has scheduled a meeting to hear submissions on July 30.
However, it has deferred any spending on the project for two years in its recently adopted long-term plan.
It has called for the delay to have time to consider the outcome of a Horizons' review of urban bus service routes, frequency and timetables that could influence whether and where a terminus should be located.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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