As I talked about in a previous post:
5 August 2011
Christchurch City Council’s Transport Committee today discussed a proposal for a temporary bus exchange to be established on the Council-owned site at 121 to 141 Tuam Street.
The driver for setting up a single temporary bus exchange is to improve the service that is currently available for passengers. It will also support the recovery of the Central City.
Bus termini for Environment Canterbury’s Metro service are currently operating from two on-road sites on Hagley and Bealey avenues. Passengers wanting to travel from one side of Christchurch to the other use a link service to get around the Central City. This has added to travel times because it requires multiple transfers.
Chair of the Transport Committee Councillor Chrissie Williams says the Council’s ability to act now in establishing a temporary Central City bus exchange is important to improve the level of certainty, reliability, safety and comfort it will bring to passengers.
“It is important to attract people back onto the buses and the re-establishment of a Central City bus exchange is a big step in that direction.”
The Council’s General Manager of City Environment Jane Parfitt says the proposed site has good operational access via surrounding roads and will provide for good cross-city bus routes. Buses will also have a number of access options to the site which will assist in maintaining operations during demolition and reconstruction work in the Central Business District.
“The site also provides good pedestrian access to the areas to the south of Tuam Street which are open to the public at present and will provide good access to City Mall, the Restart project and other areas to the north as they progressively open for public use, “she says.
Environment Canterbury Acting Passenger Transport Manager David Stenhouse says there is an immediate need for a temporary bus exchange site to ensure the bus network is reliable and convenient.
“What this site offers is a more seamless connection service from one side of Christchurch to the other and this will reduce waiting time and travel times for passengers.
“It is essential that we develop a site that can help get people back into the Central City,” he says.
The proposed temporary bus exchange site is currently in the Red Zone. However, the cordons are scheduled to be pulled back by the time the first stage of the temporary bus exchange is expected to open in late September.
The first stage will see the set-up of basic operations including platforms and shelters.
Following the first stage of the development of the temporary bus exchange four portacoms will be installed: one as a ticket office/control room, two for waiting rooms and one toilet block with access for disabled people. The site will include real time information and security cameras.
The temporary bus exchange is expected to be used for up to two years.
The existing Bus Xchange located near the intersection of Colombo and Lichfield streets has been out of action since the 22 February earthquake. The Xchange building is within the red zone cordon and it is believed that, given the damage it has sustained and its position within the cordon, that it is unlikely it will be available for bus operations for a further 12 months.
A report from the workshop will be included in the Council agenda on Thursday 11 August.
Perhaps I am wrong here, but it sounds like they are using the land that they purchased for the proposed underground transport interchange? In any case, this is great news and will achieve two things: First, it will be a step in the right direction for the public transport system; and second, it could be a key event for the initial (i.e. short-term) rehabilitation of the CBD, getting people back in there, providing good access and perhaps a catalyst for some businesses relocating early.
A bit of dangerous speculation on my part here, but I wouldn’t mind betting that we might not see the old Bus Exchange reopened at all? If it is going to be out of action for at least two years, and was originally to have been replaced by a new facility by 2014, then what is the point of bothering to go back there? Surely including new transport facilities will be part of the agenda of the rebuild of the CBD, and once the Central City Master Plan is out later this year I would be surprised if there was not a solid plan presented that sets out where to go from here. If that is the case, then in my mind it is best to jump straight to the next step rather than going back.