The final site for the new bus exchange has been bought, at a cost of $2.5 million. That puts land purchases now at around $30 million, out of a total project cost of $119 million. While it’s looks like the council paid more than perhaps they should have, it is important to secure the site for the new exchange. The current bus exchange is nearing capacity – bus patronage has doubled since it was built, and it has some serious design flaws (Platform A, for instance). At peak time, there is an average of 1 bus coming or going from the bus exchange every 14 seconds, and the design of the entrance/exits for A, B, and C platforms means that outgoing buses are blocked by the flow of traffic trying to get in. Incoming buses can’t get in until the outgoing buses have gone out, but they’re blocked by the incoming/passing traffic flows!
The underground accesses of the new exchange will separate the buses from the traffic flow, meaning they’ll be able to enter and leave much faster without disruption to pedestrians and cars. The new exchange will also have nearly three times the platforms, and assuming growth rates stay pretty constant, should have enough capacity for 20 years at least. Looking at the concepts, the underground exchange could also have ground-level tram access.
At the moment however, there are only a few concept drawings, some rumours, and a big block of land.
Here’s the concept video released earlier in the year: