I was just beggining to wonder if we were ever going to see the proposed temporary bus interchange in the CBD, when the CCC today anounced that it will open on 25 October. The interchange will not be permanent, with an intended lifespan of 2 years, and future public transport plans will supercede it. The new facility has been dubbed ‘Central Station’.
One of the obvious benefits of ‘Central’ will be the reintroduction of through routing on many routes and the reintroduction of a central transfer station. This will undoubtedly make it much easier to get around Christchurch by public transport as transfers should be more seamless, and it should also improve transit times. It also has the benefit of bringing the network up to a workable foundation from which to make improvements such as route changes, new routes, bus priority and so on. In essence, it should lift the current ‘pause’ status.
The CCC media release provided the following information on the soon to be opened “Central Station”:
QUICK ANSWERS: CENTRAL STATION (TEMPORARY BUS INTERCHANGE)
Q. What is Central Station?
A. A new, temporary bus interchange located in the Central City.
Q. When will it open?
A. 25 October, 2011.
Q. Why has it been built?
A. To improve the level of service for passengers and to support the recovery of the Central City. It replaces the two Environment Canterbury Metro service termini set up on Bealey and Hagley avenues following the devastating February earthquake. Having one transit point streamlines services for bus passengers and restores some key cross-city routes.
Its location will encourage people back into the city centre by providing good pedestrian access to areas south of Tuam Street and to Re:Start, the pop-up retail precinct opening in Christchurch’s City Mall in early November.
Central Station will initially consist of basic platforms and shelters but progressively develop to include under-cover waiting rooms for about 80 people, ticketing, real-time bus information, security cameras and amenities. Two 30 metre shelters on the platforms will seat 120 people.
Q. Where is it located?
A. On the Council-owned site at 46 – 50 Lichfield Street, near Ballantynes.
Q. What other sites were considered?
A. 10 sites were looked at within the four avenues and the chosen site was considered to be the only viable option.
Q. What is a temporary bus interchange?
A. It is not intended that the temporary bus interchange will be permanent and it does not replace longer term plans proposed for inner city transport facilities. It has been designed to function for up to two years and will provide proper facilities on a minimal basis.
Q. How will it operate?
A. It will be operated by Environment Canterbury’s Metro service.
Q. How will it improve bus services?
A. Reduce travel times. Provide one transit point for passengers travelling across the city. Restore a more reliable, convenient service. Provide good pedestrian access to the Central City.
Q. How many buses can wait?
A. Six at each of the two platforms and there is potential for buses to wait on Tuam Street. However, this is dependant on building demolitions in the Central City area.
Q. Which way will the buses travel?
A. All buses entering the site travel east along Lichfield Street and depart west from Tuam Street.
The opening of “Central Station” should also coincide with the introduction of new routes. This is a big step, but it will be interesting to see what problems might be encountered (congestion?) and whether the incremental roll out of improvements will go according to plan (remember bus lanes?).
Anyway, click here for the groovy new Central Station site.