This is a post by Paul Callister and Heidi O’Callahan.

The Hon. Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Development, is supporting airports with the Provincial Growth Fund. Has he analysed which transport mode provides the best regional development outcomes? We’ve laid out some environmental and access reasons for a national network of passenger rail, bus, shuttle and supporting active mode infrastructure. Could that regional funding be used instead to establish this network? We believe the regional development opportunities offered exceed those of supporting the carbon-heavy air industry in a limited few locations. The turnout to the recent Climate Strikes suggests many people might agree; this is a solution to help de-carbonise our transport.

Perhaps the Minister needs to survey the state of the long distance and regional bus network? We thought we’d offer some help, and save him from having to wait in the cold for a long-distance coach to arrive, walk hundreds of metres in the rain to find a toilet, or cross a dangerous road to eat in a café that only sells pies and soft drinks. So we’ve been out in the field discovering what works and doesn’t work. Bus quality clearly matters, including access for people with disabilities. The service frequency, network coverage, number of stops, driver training and ease of accessing information are also important.

‘Paekākāriki refreshment room’, URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/paekakariki-station-cafeteria, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 16-Oct-2014

In this post we consider the supporting infrastructure, important because most of New Zealand’s long distance buses do not have onboard toilets, and the days of being served food by an “attentive hostess” are long gone. Since NZ Railways was restructured and privatised, facilities to support rail and coach services have gradually been disappearing. Facilities are now generally provided by local authorities or private companies, and vary considerably in quality.

Questions for the Minister include:

  • What work is being done to coordinate bus and rail facilities?
  • Should government provide the facilities, or just guidelines and standards?
  • Should they regulate?

Full answers require understanding the current deficiencies. Here are some examples of the good, the acceptable and the downright bad, for travellers between Auckland and Wellington.

The good

Manukau Bus Station

Many people catch their long distance buses in South Auckland. The Manukau stop has recently been improved from an open sided bus shelter, to the pleasant and passenger-friendly Manukau bus interchange. Note that loading luggage and passengers can all take place under shelter. Transfers to the train and local buses are easy, including a regular bus to the airport.

Hamilton Transport Centre

Hamilton is an important interchange for long distance and regional buses, and the depot is located within the Hamilton Transport Centre, serving suburban buses too. It has excellent toilets operating 24 hours and a good quality café operating during the day. It is a long way from the rail passenger station at Frankton, but when rapid rail finally links Auckland and Hamilton it appears feasible to link an abandoned underground station to the centre.

Bulls Interchange

Bulls is worth mentioning because it will shortly be upgraded, as part of a new community centre, thanks to the Rangitikei District Council. The current interchange already works pretty well so this does raise a question: Where there’s local impetus to improve the infrastructure, great. But how do we prioritise the interchanges where the quality is downright bad and there is no local champion?

At Bulls, we have also had reports of some drivers not opening the facilities for passengers.

The adequate

Palmerston North Bus Depot at the The Square carpark

Palmerston North is an important regional hub for bus connections. The bus stop has good toilet facilities and there is an excellent selection of cafes nearby.

However, the stop illustrates the challenges we will face in trying to link rail and bus travel again. Although the main trunk railway line once passed through the centre of town, it now skirts past the town, leaving the train station over 2km away from the town centre. Bus stops and train stations are separated in a number of towns and cities including Ohakune, Hamilton and Auckland.

The depot has been designed with good rain cover for waiting passengers, but there is then an uncovered walk to toilets, cafes and the Main Street Terminal for the suburban bus, which is an extra 150m away. Ample carparking, on the other hand, is adjacent to the bus. Would a clear priority of connection to local public transport have produced a different design?

The provision of a disabled toilet at the Flat Hills cafe is to be commended, as not many depots do, but we feel there must be a solution available better than the current arrangement: the user has to make their way into the café, get to the counter, publicly ask for a key, then bring it back afterwards.

Many refreshment stops are at trucker style cafes. While some passengers no doubt appreciate the option of a pie and a cup of tea, an increasing number of New Zealanders and international travellers are looking for dairy- or gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan food.

The downright bad

Most bus depots do not have separate parent rooms. The photo shows an extremely poor example of a baby changing table next to the men’s urinal. There is no shelf to place nappy bags or equipment near the change table, nor any easy way to dispose of nappies and wipes.

 

Taupo Bus Stop

Another bad example is Taupo, an important interchange, refreshment stop and tourist destination.

The bus stops on a 5-lane main road. It is opposite some cafes, but the crossing infrastructure is 100 m away, and 250 m away from the toilets, meaning it doesn’t meet the needs of children and parents, people with limited mobility, and tourists unused to our traffic conditions. The long walk from the bus stop to either the barely acceptable free toilet facilities or the SuperLoo which charges a small fee is open to the elements, and can be a significant challenge for the disabled, the elderly or parents with babies. The toilets are unheated, there is no parents’ room and there is no drinking water available.

The authors have written to both InterCity and Taupo Council pointing out these problems but with no effect. Relatively low cost solutions would include moving the bus stop and shelters to outside the toilet and adding a new mid-block crossing there, building new facilities next to the current bus shelter, or making use of the adjacent I-Site facilities and carpark.

This seems like a worthy project for the council, given that the Waikato Regional Public Transport Plan 2018-2028 emphasises the need for good quality stops and shelters for public transport in Taupo. Alternatively, the Provincial Growth Fund could provide funding, but in this region they seem focused, instead, on financing a luxury gondola on Mt Ruapehu.

Waiouru Bus Stop

Waiouru is representative of many bus stops throughout New Zealand where passengers must wait in very poor conditions. This stop, in the Ruapehu District Council area, can be particularly bleak in winter when snow is not uncommon, yet it has no shelter. It is also next to a truck stop where movements in and out make walking in the area dangerous, meaning parents must exercise restraint just when their children need to let off some steam. Waiouru has now become a half hour rest stop for some buses, replacing a stop at Taihape. This is a poor choice given the often challenging weather conditions and the poor food choices in local cafes.

However, not is all bad in Waiouru. The nearby public toilets were voted “Best Loo” at the 2016 Keep NZ Beautiful Awards.

Finally, the excellently-located Central Auckland depot, worthy of a post in itself. The poorly maintained facilities demonstrate that a deal struck between a council with little interest in regional public transport and a casino/hotel company doesn’t guarantee even basic upkeep and cleanliness. The latest AT Board Meeting Closed Session Agenda included the item “Inter-Regional Coach Terminal Relocation“. What deal will be struck with Sky City to release its responsibilities to Auckland for hosting the location? Has a well-located, central site been found that will retain the good connections to local bus and to the post-CRL passenger rail network? Is this a sign that the Council has connected the dots between a Climate Emergency and improving the regional buses?

What lessons can we learn from stops on this route?

Currently, some of the best stops are at private facilities. It is obvious why Intercity have chosen to work their timetables around these locations: drivers and passengers are well-served. Yet as more services are added to the network, locations to enable easy transfers become more important. Strategically, the locations of the bus depots need to be planned as part of a coordinated network of rail and bus. Many towns and cities no longer have train stations at good, central locations. If we are to avoid wasting money on bus depots that ultimately end up in the wrong location, we need to establish now where stations would go if, over time, we are to re-establish a passenger rail network.

Auckland airport

In our opinion, safe access to good toilets, good food and quality waiting rooms are the critical requirements to improve life when travelling. The facilities provided at bus depots do not match in quality those likely to be found at airports or tourist areas.

Here’s how the facilities at bus stops and depots could be improved:

  • Locations need to be supported by safe pedestrian infrastructure.
  • Good site design is needed to enable easy and safe transfer between the regional bus, local bus, train, shuttle, taxi, cycling and walking networks.
  • Where possible, depots could be incorporated into community centres, to introduce interest, activity and security.
  • At interchanges and refreshment stops, seats and shelter for waiting passengers should include parents’ rooms and be comfortable in temperature. The walks between bus and facilities at these stops should be short, safe, and preferably under shelter from rain.
  • Quality, well-maintained toilets are critical, including disabled toilets and changing facilities for babies. These should be open for anyone waiting for a bus (passenger or not), and this shouldn’t be dependent on the attitude of any particular staff member or driver.
  • More diversity in dietary options is important. Bus companies need to follow the airlines’ lead in reviewing their refreshment offerings to cater for a changing market.
  • At minor stops, on both urban streets and rural roads, there should at least be seats and shelter from the rain, even if it is the natural shelter of good tree cover.
  • Wayfinding and transport information should be available at depots and stops.

There is potential for some creativity and local placemaking.

Source: http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2009/05/01/15-unusual-and-creative-bus-stops/

What is needed from government?

As we discussed in our post Regional Access, NZTA need to provide “inclusive access”:

There needs to be improved management of transport demand and operations and transport investment must take a mode-neutral approach, enabling wider and longer-term social, cultural, economic and environmental outcomes in cities and regions.

For bus travel to be an attractive travel option, significant upgrades will be needed to bring the infrastructure up to the same quality enjoyed by air travellers. Compared with many large scale transport projects, these improvements seem relatively inexpensive.

If central government is to improve facilities, will money come from an activity class within the National Land Transport Fund, from the Provincial Growth Fund, or from a new Climate Change fund?

Some councils seem willing to invest in facilities; others don’t. Can we expect consistency between regional public transport plans? Are regulations the best way to ensure standards are consistently high?

If private enterprise is to provide facilities, how will the locations be chosen? Private enterprise will expect long-term planning.

Most importantly, if a national public transport network is to be revived and improved, how will central government make good decisions about the role it should play, and about where investment is required? Can we expect coordination between different government ministries involved with, for example, transport, regional development, the needs of an ageing population, and the challenges of climate change?

To make even basic decisions, data is needed. Racing ahead with decisions to support regional airports, without robust mode-neutral analysis into the best social and environmental outcomes for our investment, makes a mockery of good infrastructure planning and of our business case processes.

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72 comments

  1. It would be good for me if I could even get on an Intercity bus. In the last week I
    have tried to make two computer bookings with them, but their site tells me I have
    reached my time limit and stops before I can finish the booking.

    I guess they have ‘improved’ their booking system, but I had no problems with the
    previous one.

    Never mind, I will go by car instead.

  2. No mention of the tiny shelter at Wellington’s platform 9, or the enclosed waiting area with automatic doors at Christchurch. Ideally all bus stations would follow the Christchurch example. Ideally we’d only have to use the bus for short journeys, where there’s no railway. I prefer the faster, more comfortable, Northern Explorer to the bus, but it’s so infrequent, I use the bus more often.

    1. There are so many bad examples it would have been a very long article if we had included them all. The whole system needs a major upgrade.

    2. Dunedin once had a vast, art deco inter regional bus station with everything under cover. Now it has a bus stop on the side of the road with zero facilities. When it first moved there, they didn’t even provide a bus shelter. In Dunedin’s weather!

  3. A proper canopy to protect commuters as they transfer between bus and train at Manukau Station would be nice. Anything would be an improvement over the current Mickey Mouse arrangement.

    1. Its not that bad Vance you can stand in the shelter and wait for the green man then make your dash. Don’t be so negative about everything it gets people down.

    2. It’s a transfer I haven’t done, Vance. I see there’s a canopy – is it too high for its width, or is it not on the pedestrian desire line? It’s an important connection, so they need to try to get it right.

      1. Probably needs to be at least 4x wider to provide adequate protection when there’s a breeze up.

        Wouldn’t have been a problem if the train station was below the bus station. I did try to encourage them to spend the extra money to tunnel under Davies Ave.

        1. Agree.

          Lack of joined up thinking/planning. Not even a pedestrian subway with escalators & lifts up into the bus station. Poor given how recent both train & bus stations are.

    3. The entire Manukau bus station is absolute luxury compared with the usual NZ bus standard, if a slighty ineffective canopy when crossing an 8 m gap in bad weather is all you’ve got to complain about, be thankful. The disgraceful Taupo situation is far more the norm in NZ, zero consideration for bus users.

  4. Agreed. Having used several of these bus stations over the years, I would say that Hamilton is probably best-practice for intercity services, Wellington’s facilities are poor – but at least they are convenient to most local buses and the trains – and Auckland’s are ghastly. I would also give an honourable mention to Rotorua, while I’m about it.

    Another thing which is important is to have actual people there to help – selling tickets, explaining where things are. Again, an excellent for Hamilton and Rotorua, and that’s about it.

    1. Try catching an early bus from Hamilton, it’s all locked up. You have to wait in freezing conditions with various hobos begging.

  5. Heidi this is a very good issue to pursue. Besides the Regional Development minister is this something to take up with the Tourism and transport. Kelvin Davis and Julie Anne Genter I wouldn’t bother with Twyford. However to get back to the Provincial Growth Fund surely its up to the various councils to apply for funding. Also I wouldn’t stress to much about Rail connections in short to medium term. The only routes which will possibly utilised are Auckland Hamilton and Wellington Palmerston North. Normal public transport can be arranged to link between Railway stations and Intercity bus stops.

  6. When I first visited NZ back in 2009 before moving out here permanently I travelled the whole Country on Intercity, thinking it would be as simple as when I travelled the US on their Greyhound Coach network. The facilities were an bit of an eye opener, including being bundled into random Cafe’s with huge queues and only Pies on sale…not having night coaches was a killer as well as it meant too much travel during daylight hours where I could have been doing fun things.

    Anyway, the ‘facilities’ in Auckland have to be some of the worst in the Country, disconnected from the Transport Network, no safe pedestrian area, no pickup area. Really hope there is something in store for the future as coach travel really is a great way to get around the regions if promoted correctly.

    1. I was just thinking about how much better Greyhound was and how sad that is.
      Don’t even get me started on scheduling. How about having to spend the night in Nelson in order to get from Picton to the west coast?

  7. I’d prefer to see a coach network feeding into a rail network where rail isn’t really an option. Rotorua and Tauranga should have three or four trains a day to Auckland and the Capital should be a nine hour journey maximum.

    1. We are looking for things that can be done quickly. Improving facilities for Intercity buses is something which can be done quickly. Intercity are doing a good job the Govt and Councils should be supporting them so should the public. Intercity rail is something for the longer term. Its also expensive and very political. Lets build up the public transport system in our towns and cities so they are complimentary with Intercity bus journeys and when the need and the will comes for Intercity trains then people will know how and be used to walking out their front door with their wheely suitcase and walking to their local bus stop to catch a local bus to the Intercity bus or railway station or even Airport for that matter to make their journey. Its just the same thing as the New Bus network but on a bigger scale transfers are the only way it will ever work.

      1. Sorry, buses aren’t the answer if you want to attract people out of cars. They are cramped, uncomfortable, noisy compared with a car and have atrocious ventilation. You can’t move around, no onboard facilities and even if they have a toilet it’s a chamber of horrors. High quality trains are desperately needed. And Intercity aren’t doing a great job imo, they’re are back to milking a captive market just like they did before Naked bus shook things up.

        1. Look just give me a train to Taupo so I don’t have to spend four hours on the road and I’ll shut up about Light Rail forever.

        2. Well it wont be happening next week and I have had quite enough of waiting for things like a CRL , 3 rd main or Pukekohe Electrification not to mention an imaginary light rail scheme. Lets look at what we can do quickly and people are using Intercity buses. Yesterday the bus to Tauranga at 1.00 pm was chocker despite the fact that it diverts through Thames so there is a market for it. Double decker so probably 70 passengers.

        3. It’s not a situation of either / or. And campaigning for one is complementary to campaigning for the other, just as the networks should complement each other in practice.

          Even if the government decided to ramp up passenger rail and its coverage massively, the lead-in time is so long that buses will need to provide most of those trips for years. And the coverage of rail will never be comprehensive, so buses will always be needed.

          Meanwhile, if the bus network can be improved substantially, there’ll be more people and places geared up for public transport and ready to roll when (if?) we finally invest properly in rail.

    2. If the Rotorua line was reopened, hopefully it would get the hordes of mini buses off the road that currently ply the route with overseas drivers.

  8. In the case of the Auckland central bus terminal why not have built it on top of the CRL tunnels under Albert St?
    A single entry lane at the northern and exit down Wellesley St. Perfectly located virtually on top of the Aotea station, warm dry etc.
    Oh yeah, slight problem, the cavity has been backfilled!
    Yet another example of the lack of foresight we continually get.

  9. Thanks for this post. I recently travelled Akl – Wgton return, so these bus stops are fresh in my mind.

    I travelled from SkyCity bus depot which is badly designed for pedestrian access, and is a dark dingy place. It’s simply awful, but the saving grace is that for many tourists who do start their journey through Aotearoa from here, the contrast between this dump of a shit hole place and the countryside is that much greater.

    We had a break in Tokoroa. There were road works, and an upgrade being done to the ‘shopping area’, but there was no shelter, and the food options were a good walk away.

    The lunch break was at Flat Hills. It is an ok facility. I had made my own lunch so ate that. There was a lack of power points to recharge phones.

    The final stop was Palmy, and I agree with your observations here.

    Coming back the driver skipped both morning and afternoon stops in favour of a long lunch break at Flat Hills. Again, a lack of charging points.

    But overall, I agree with your observations and I do hope that someone does draws the Minister’s attention to your post.

    1. Nelson also used to have a covered depot when Newmans still operated. Even Foxton once had a good quality depot. But for a variety of reasons they have been closed or downgraded.

    2. Found it. The Taupo Travel Centre on Gascoigne Street was sold in 2013 as part of a ‘debt reduction initiative’ by the Taupo District Council. Another stated benefit of closing the purpose built off road bus station and replacing it with a bus shelter was it would create an additional 8 car parks.

        1. But it seems despite what the Northern Advocate story says, Far North District Councilllors are still determined to shift the Intercity bus stop to the airport, 5km out of town. Apparently removing a few carparks is absolutely out of the question in Kerikeri.

  10. Good post thanks Heidi. Yes would be good to see some improvements all around the country.
    Thinking smaller towns. Couple of our children returned from Hahei beach in the Coromandel a while back, I think just after Mana bus stopped it’s service. It’s interesting in that they run a smaller mini-van you have to transfer to from Thames I think (with the smaller windy roads it’s probably a good idea).
    They either used to go right into the town or it may have been the Mana buses only that did, so they either had to walk for 10kms to the more main road or paid $15 shuttle drop off by the camp ground people to be left on the side of the road on a pile of gravel with no bus stop markings or anything. https://goo.gl/maps/RAEe1ZY1fmdaKbXT6
    Seems a pity if they use a small vehicle and go that far, may as well go into the beach town itself. It’s not like it’s even a daily service let alone a frequent route.

  11. “The Hon. Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Development, is supporting airports with the Provincial Growth Fund. Has he analysed which transport mode provides the best regional development outcomes?”

    Heidi, an excellent way to start the article. As you suggest though emissions considerations need to be a vital part of the conversation. From this perspective can we afford to be improving airports? Is the FIT tourist who fly/drives still a sustainable option for NZ?

    Should the government be doing more to achieve alternatives to carbon heavy flying? Rather than a voluntary carbon offset offered by the airlines, has the time arrived where that becomes compulsory and the revenue is collected by government and spent on carbon efficient options; as a start high speed rail to Hamilton.

    Should those who hire rental cars be paying towards the roads, bridges and car parks that we provide for them at below cost (Productivity Commission and cost of road externalities). The airport tax doesn’t even put a dent in this. Certainly there are many countries in the world where you pay significantly for the privilege of driving whether it be from road tolls, or some other mechanism.

    It would be an ironical situation where kiwis drastically reduced their driving only for these to be gobbled up by tourists landing at Auckland and either driving thousands of kilometres as they traverse both islands, or airport hop around the country.

    I suspect that there is no coherent government plan, but rather it is driven by self interest. As you say there is the Minister of Regional Airports; and their is the 7th ranked Labour Cabinet Minister pushing for a road based Melling solution when clearly the answer is that many people have to drive less.

    Most of all you are right Heidi, there needs to be a solution (or many) to decarbonise our transport. My first priorityis to decarbonise the grid to allow renewable powered EVs; but medium distance rail and coach travel is also important.

    1. Suburban Electric buses would be a good place to start. At least the government has some control over that. And then if things get really ugly there is a plan already in place. The better the public transport network including long distant buses the less need to drive for both locals and tourists. An online calculator which displays carbon emissions on a bus journey compared to a car or plane should be advertised on television and online pop up on social media etc.

  12. Good post.

    The location of the bus stops seems to be poorly chosen.

    They should relocate the bus stop to local town center, ideally near the i-sites.

    This enables people to visit the local shops and cafes while waiting the for transfer. Some of them will spend money and it would helps to grow the local economy.

    In other higher density towns, they planned the train station, bus-interchange, and town center as close to each other as possible and has a seamless integration.

  13. Some late night buses in palmy instead drop off and pick up at the local bus terminal nearby. I had to pick someone up from there. I guess it’s because at night the square is a bit a dark and isolated so they do it for safety reasons.

    1. It surprises me how blasé we are when it comes to lighting public areas, as if we are the safest place on Earth..case in point, they are only now creating a plan to install lighting in Victoria Park, one of the main parks of our biggest City and they don’t have lighting! In 2019! It’s not even a case of safety from people, riding along there after work on a bike or scooter in Winter when its dark at 5pm is insane with the condition those paths are in. Another case of pedestrian being 2nd class citizen.

      1. Let alone the plans to remove lighting from parks because they’re not safe enough to be encouraging people into! As if my 7 pm ride home from activities with the kids through Western Springs Park shouldn’t be lit in winter.

        Wrong people making decisions, methinks.

        Auckland Council has slashed its focus on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, and it’s taking a toll on how we can use our city.

  14. 1) “carbon-heavy air industry in a limited few locations” – there is no reason air travel cannot be operated on biofuels over the medium term except for the current price differential to avgas.

    2) Assuming that domestic and international flight refueling is/can be logged separately a carbon price could be added to domestic air travel (until such time as the international community comes to an agreement on carbon pricing international flights). This would be a step towards closing the price differential. Electric and hydrogen powered planes are also on the horizon.

    3) Fully carbon priced (or biofueled) air travel in NZ probably provides a superior product given the long travel distances (& long travel times) and the poor state of our state highways.

    4) That said there are socioeconomic reasons (access to family & friends, services for the poorer in society) why a full regional network of bus services should be provided.

    5) Where there are gaps in the network currently not serviced by commercial companies the government could tender those services.

    1. Agree with you on most of this. The spacing of our three main centres, with two being 660km apart and the other being separated by water means aviation will always play a significant role. The only air routes I could see rail ever making a significant dent in would be AKL to Tauranga, and maybe AKL to Palmerston North and WLG to Hamilton.

      The benefit of improved bus travel would be the reduction in the need to drive places.

    2. As we said in the Regional Access post, “In contrast to the 15 airports that link North Island towns, InterCity has 277 designated stops in the North Island”

      Even if 5 extra airports get funded – which is highly unlikely – 20 airports do not provide access for communities that hundreds of bus stops can provide.

      The issue here is that access has been denied to regional communities through allowing the externalities of driving to be paid for by the general population, while not providing an equivalent subsidy to the other modes. As NZTA research papers point out, this creates poverty, in a vicious spiral of reduced access leading to reduced amenity (as businesses and residents leave).

      So it’s important to first establish the economic rationale, which will need to include an acceptance that there is community and regional repair to be achieved, due to historical underfunding.

      It may be that regional development can be best supported through a combination of air, rail and bus links. But I want to see the figures – at present, I don’t believe that the analysis has been done. For starters, once the $250/tonne is added to the cost of carbon just to cover the climate change externalities, air travel will increase in cost substantially. Secondly, an analysis of who is doing the flying shows that this subsidy from general taxation to the people who are flying is quite inequitable.

      1. Heidi
        you are right that at the moment that the playing field is unequal. Similar to air travel, it is likely that most longer distance driving is done by the more affluent, and yet not all of that cost is picked up by the motorist. If our roads were priced to reflect actual costs then I am sure that this would move significant numbers to travel by bus and train. It would also likely cause us to evaluate whether we significantly updated some regional rail in the way that we are looking at light rail in some of our cities.

  15. As bypasses are built the difference between bus and car travel times is going to widen. For example the route through Taupō adds over 15 minutes as compared with the bypass. The Huntly, Hamilton and Paraparaumu bypasses will add even more. Does anyone know if InterCity plan to use the new roads, provide connections, or just keep the present slow and infrequent timetables?

    1. In fairness most cars go through Taupo anyway as it is either their destination or they’re stopping to get lunch or fuel.

      I agree regarding the other two, although though they are relatively low hanging fruit for improved rail services.

    2. Once Transmission Gully opens it will probably be the end of my InterCity bus stop in Paekakariki. But already not all buses stop there, some are limited stops. So I simply take the train to either Paraparaumu or Waikanae to connect with the bus. But it emphasises the need to have good interchanges and good connections between long distance travel and local PT. As an example of how that does not work I often travel to Palmerston North and Auckland. So I need to carry both a Palmerston North bus card and my Hopcard. That is addition to my Snapper card for Wellington.

    1. Great. Some Council’s keep improving things. Others don’t.

      I hope they build on the already paved areas, not the permeable lawns and garden beds. 🙂

        1. Pity. Reallocating the huge land area we’ve dedicated to driving to better uses is key to re-shaping our cities.

        2. Indeed. Although to be fair, the pavement immediately adjacent to the bus stops is the ANZAC Day parade ground/food truck area for events (which raises a whole other issue around bus services having to be moved every time something’s on), and the other paved area is the egress for the buses to go on their way.

        3. Seems a pity when the council has got so much right in the area, and has created a lovely space, to go ahead with a costly new design that doesn’t solve all the issues.

          If, as Peter says, the night time regional buses use the suburban bus terminal, and if, as you say, they have to move the regional bus stop whenever there’s an event anyway, then the depot doesn’t seem to be in the best location.

          If they’re going to spend that sort of money, they really need the place redesigned by a transport expert who specialises in accessibility. Or a clever local transport expert with some input from public transport users with limited mobility.

          Sounds to me like the area it’s in is better donated to carparking, that can be co-opted for events. And the regional and suburban buses should be combined on the streets where the events won’t interrupt anything. Near the roundabout? Using some of the kerbside carparking as new bus stops with shelters?

        4. They looked at integrating the two terminals. Why they aren’t when they’re planning to redevelop both of them, I don’t know. The suburban one will end up looking similar to what you suggested, sans regional buses.

  16. I have always wondered why we dont have a post bus minivan system. That connects to the regional buses and trains. And then takes people to the more remote areas like Raglan. Regional Government could link post and transport and banking… In the eighties a bus used to connect St Arnaud to Nelson. Dropping off mail, TVs, and a Goat as I recall. And carrying 10 to 15 passengers

    1. Some of the rural delivery operators in the South Island that operate near popular tourist tramps like the Te Araroa trail have put seats in their vans recently. I saw one up the headwaters of the Rangitata a couple of years ago.

      1. When people are incentivised all sorts of things can work. I am mindful of the buses that take people out to the great walks around the Queenstown area. I also recall getting a air bus from Melbourne airport and being met by minivans to shuttle us out to hotels. And at Hyde on the Otago rail trail minivans waiting to take punters to accomodation for the night. These are examples of systems that work. Why cant rail link to bus and link to minivan. Post and courier services could be connected. Also rationalising courier services would counter the petrol used to deliver your $1.80 parcel from China.

    2. Raglan actually has multiple services a day to and from Hamilton. But I agree, postal type services could be great in very isolated places. Or act as a good way to get service to rural homes.

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