Petition to keep centre city bus stops

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Don't stop stopping . . . Bus Users' Support Group members (from left) Diane Yeldon and Telagi Papau, with co-presidents Peter Dowden and Alex King are gathering signatures to keep buses stopping near the Octagon with the proposed bus hub removing buses from the immediate area. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

As bus users prepare for buses no longer to stop near the Octagon, a passenger advocacy group is calling on the Otago Regional Council to keep stops in the city centre.

Bus Users’ Support Group co-president Alex King said the group was petitioning the ORC to put bus stops in Moray Pl and neighbouring streets if it was going to reroute buses away from the Octagon.

The changes will start when the new central city bus hub in Great King St opens later this year, after which buses will take a detour from Princes and George Sts via lower Moray Pl.

Mr King said as many community facilities – including the Civic Centre, Dunedin City Library, Dunedin Public Art Galley and i-Site – were in or near the Octagon, ensuring people could hop off near the Octagon was vital for older or disabled passengers.

Because of this, the Bus Users’ Support Group had launched a petition, which was planned to be presented at the next ORC meeting on June 28.

The petition asks the ORC to keep buses stopping between Dowling and St Andrew Sts once the hub is in place.

Permission had been requested to present the petition at the ORC meeting and the group had already gathered several pages of signatures, Mr King said.

The group was aware of opposition to the proposed location of the hub but did not hold a strong opinion regarding its placement and supported the construction of a hub, he said.

The bus users’ group had also accepted the regional council’s view that frequent Octagon closures were disruptive to the bus service, but insisted that the ORC needed to continue servicing the central city.

ORC support services manager Gerard Collings said the council was looking at the location of stops in lower Moray Pl.

Recent concern over the removal of car parks in Great King St to make way for the bus hub had prompted concern from local business owners.

But the fact the ORC had been discussing the hub with business owners showed consultation was continuing with affected stakeholders, Mr Collings said.

“We’ve been quite open with the community over that [the loss of car parks] from day 1.”