A new home for an expanded bus service03/10/2022 10:58am
Waiting for the bus in Nelson is set to become a more comfortable experience with elected members approving the location of a new, modernised bus hub.
Miller’s Acre (corner of Trafalgar and Halifax Streets) has been chosen as the site for a new bus hub that will serve people using a new more frequent, more widespread, and cheaper bus service that will start in mid-2023.
The hub, which is due to be constructed next financial year, aims to deliver warmth and comfort while waiting for the bus with improved seating and better shelter.
Moving the bus hub from the Bridge Street site is a key part of enacting the changes to our city centre and transport system outlined in strategies such as Te Ara ō Whakatū - the City Centre Spatial Plan, the Regional Public Transport Plan, the Parking Strategy and E Tū Whakatū - the Active Travel Strategy.
For example, the new site will free up Bridge Street so it can become an Active Transport Corridor — a people-focused place, full of greenery, and safe for cyclists and pedestrians.
Since being bought by Council the old terminal site is now earmarked for development into either housing, a playground, or a mixture of both. This site will continue to be used while detailed design, consenting, and funding for a new site is finalized, and the new hub is constructed.
The new hub will be supported by a series of stops on the ring road that circles the city centre so that people's destinations are just a short walk from all stops.
“We want to make taking the bus a convenient option for people commuting or shopping in Nelson. Dotting stops around the city will allow people to get off a little closer to their final destination,” says Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese.
Mayor Reese says the Miller’s Acre site ticked the most boxes.
“Staff looked at 13 sites and Miller’s Acre emerged as a clear winner. It’s close to the City Centre, situated on the ring road, and has ample space for integrated use of our new fleet of electric buses. The new hub will be a much more pleasant place for passengers while they wait for their bus or transfer across services.”
Use of this site as a bus hub will require a reduction in public car park spaces in Millers Acre. Council’s Parking Strategy (adopted August 2022) prioritises parking for those most in need, and concept plans show short-term, EV charging, accessible, and loading spaces remaining in Millers Acre.
Concerns about the loss of parking were raised in Public Forum on Thursday 22 September and elected members met with affected business owners.
“All sites considered for the hub would have resulted in either loss of public car parking spaces or would have required significant land purchase,” says Mayor Reese.
“We needed to make sure our city centre business community was reassured that change wouldn’t happen overnight and that we would work with them to promote alternative transport and parking options for their customers.
“Council officers will use the time before the bus hub is constructed to promote nearby parking options such as Wakatu Square.”
Placeholder funding of $1.4m for the new bus hub was included as part of Council's Long Term Plan 2021-31 and Council is also in discussion with Waka Kotahi regarding what public transport subsidies may be available.
Bus depot: a facility for the storage and maintenance of buses.
Bus hub: a place where passengers can safely transfer between bus services.
The current SBL site is a hybrid site that is a combination of a depot and a public facing interchange.
The following criteria were used to select a place for the new terminal:
- Accessibility – for all ages and abilities
- Visibility – easy to find and all route stops visible to all users
- Comfort – weather protection/good amenity
- Facilities – access to public toilets/ adequate seating/drivers’ rest and meals breaks/space for information and storage
- Safety – site is publicly visible and has good lighting
- Capacity – sufficient space to provide the required number of bus bays
- E- Bus charging – has space required to support this if required
- Efficiency – easy and safe ingress/egress for buses with minimal delays or excessive kilometers travelled to access the hub when new routes commence in mid 2023
- Affordability – cost considerations include the purchase/lease of the bus hub site or space to provide driver facilities/customer amenities
- Ability to implement – considers ease of implementation including potential objections to loss of parking.