Red zone bus tour draws mixed reaction

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 18/07/2012
William Connell
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
SNAPSHOT: William Connell, of Woodend, photographs Christ Church Cathedral during the inaugural red-zone bus tour yesterday.

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The latest red-zone bus tours through earthquake-hit central Christchurch have received mixed reviews.

The inaugural Red Bus commercial tour rolled out at 10am yesterday with 24 passengers and seats to spare.

The trip started with a warning that despite the best intentions of those managing the visits, patrons "might not survive" if an earthquake happened during the ride.

It was not enough to put anyone off.

Posters advertising old concerts are still up near the Town Hall and an old tag remains imprinted on the Chalice in Cathedral Square.

All that remains of the Grant Thornton building in the Square is a pile of rubble the height of a single-storey building.

Aucklander Kevin Pepperell and partner Frank Broekmans said the tour was fantastic and worth every cent.

Pepperell grew up in Christchurch and it was his first time inside the cordon.

"Seeing how different it is in the city to how it was I found quite emotional," he said. "I couldn't see enough to get my bearings.

"You can't take it all in."

Both men expressed disappointment that the old Government Life building was still standing in Cathedral Square, until they were advised it was to come down. "Thank God for that," Pepperell said.

Woodend couple Robyn McDonald and William Connell said they would have preferred the bus to stop at some points on the ride, and the $15 cost was a bit steep.

"It should have been $10 tops," Connell said.

The guide's commentary and the images on the bus television sets received good reviews. The tours last 30 to 40 minutes and leave from Canterbury Museum four times a day.

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- The Press

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