New Tauranga bus stop locations 'sub-optimal'

Six bus stops will be spread along Durham St south. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.

The new location of bus stops in Tauranga’s city centre have been described as “sub-optimal” by businesses and the commission.

A permanent CBD bus interchange location was decided at a Tauranga City Council meeting on Monday.

Six bus stops will be spread along the southern section of Durham Street, between Elizabeth and Spring streets.

The estimated cost is $5 million and two rain gardens will be removed to make way for the stops.

Streetscaping, road strengthening and wastewater upgrades on Durham St, competed in 2019, cost $10.5m.

Initially the council proposed two 90 metre “bus super stops” on either side of Durham Street at the Elizabeth Street end.

This was met with opposition from landowners and businesses who had concerns about the visibility of their frontages and antisocial behaviour.

At a March meeting, the commission deferred the decision and asked council to engage with the affected people.

Workshops were held and council staff came up with four options for the bus stops.

Sustainable Bay of Plenty executive director Glen Crowther. Photo: Alex Cairns / Bay of Plenty Times.

Speaking in Monday’s meeting public forum, Sustainable Bay of Plenty executive director Glen Crowther said all four options presented were “sub-optimal.”

Crowther said he worked on Durham Street so was involved in the engagement.

“The issue is no property owners anywhere in the CBD … want bus stops by their property. That seems to be the fundamental issue.”

The council should focus on its strategy to deliver a better public transport system, said Crowther.

Getting more people on buses would not happen if the council put a sub-optimal CBD bus interchange in place, he said.

“We think you need to pay far more attention to what bus users want than what private property owners want.”

Collier Consultants founder Aaron Collier, representing developers Classic Group and Zariba Holdings, said the option of the six stops was worse than the council’s original proposal because it blocked legal access to their site.

Classic Group and Zariba Holdings jointly own land on Durham Street and they had a “significant redevelopment” planned for 142 Durham St.

Collier raised concerns that there wouldn’t be enough space between the bus shelters and the buildings behind to have “active frontages” for business and walkways for pedestrians.

Collier and Crowther both suggested an off-street bus interchange.

Frances de Vantier of Guideline Investors. Photo: Alex Cairns / Bay of Plenty Times.

Frances de Vantier of Guideline Investors, representing the owners of 162 Durham St, said they were determined to prevent the bus stops from being installed.

“As proprietors of four active shopfronts along Durham Street, the prospect of installing bus stops with these shelters, poses a significant threat to the commercial viability of our tenants' businesses.”

She was also concerned about the loss of on-street parking that would occur from the bus stops and the narrowness of the street.

Council principal investment advisor transport Tom McEntyre said council acknowledged the bus stops required compromise on multiple fronts.

The recommended option of six stops between Elizabeth and Spring Streets presented the “best outcome”, he said.

“This option does present the best outcome for the greater good of the city, the greater good of the users of the PT [public transport] service, but for the longer term as the city centre development continues at pace.”

The council was also working to secure a lease for an empty site at 199 Cameron Road that buses could use as layover when they weren’t in use, said McEntyre.

This would significantly reduce the amount of stationary buses in the city centre and improve people’s experience, he said

Commission chair Anne Tolley said the dilemma for the commission was where the bus interchange should go. Photo: Alex Cairns / Bay of Plenty Times.

Commission chair Anne Tolley said the bus stops were conditional on getting a layover space because the noise and disruption from buses idling was unacceptable.

The dilemma the commission faced was where the city bus interchange should go, she said.

It was originally in Willow Street but was relocated to north Durham Street in 2022 as a temporary solution.

Commissioner Shadrach Rolleston said all of the options were “suboptimal”.

“Everybody’s got a view and a perspective and ultimately they don't want either in front of them.”

It was also not optimal from accessibility point of view, he said.

“So [we’re] trying to come to a compromise solution that no one's going to be happy with.”

The six stop option provided compromises across the board, said Rolleston.

Tolley said the city centre was in a transition and the Durham Street stops may not be the solution in 10 years’ time.

When the “major rebuild” of the CBD was complete would be the appropriate time for a successive council to relook at solutions for bus stops, she said.

Detailed design work and consultation with the stakeholders will continue. Construction of the bus stops is expected to begin in mid-2024 

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.


5 million, you what???

Posted on 29-04-2024 20:24 | By gottabekidding

How does that cost 5 million, it seems that those at the top have no idea about money and cost of things, time for them to go. 5 mil to take out a garden and add some tarmac. I'll learn how to do it for a 2 million if you want!

driver less taxis.

Posted on 29-04-2024 21:19 | By Cynical Me

Serious lack of forward thinking as usual.
There is no need for buses in downtown. We should be using driver less taxis
Being used now overseas. Then travel anywhere from the bus stops to any part of the CBD. LOS ANGELES — Robotaxis will begin cruising the streets of Los Angeles on Thursday when Google spinoff Waymo starts offering free rides to some of the roughly 50,000 people who have signed up for its driverless ride-hailing service.13 Mar 2024


Posted on 29-04-2024 21:33 | By The Truth Is Out There

The recommendation is the worst option. So they are going ahead!
Please let the lawyers for these businesses, put in actions, to stop this.
So when, an elected council, this year. can actually ask the public. As if the public finds it hard to access, they aren't going to use. And the Western Bay Of Plenty is going to lose more millions then they do now, through operating the Buses.
199 Cameron Rd, is not a suitable layover area.
Buses, will only be able to access from South end, and leave from North end of the West side of Cameron Rd!
So 50 plus buses an hr, trying to reposition to Durham St.
God help us.
As the Commission, has not got a clue.


Posted on 29-04-2024 21:42 | By Let's get real

Is there anyone in the planning office that is capable of looking beyond a computer modelling screen.
Common sense and forward planning seem to be two meaningless words in this office of ineptitude and incompetence.
But, heaven forbid that the developers, that are the strongest supporters of the current regime, should be prevented from making money from the expenditure of ratepayer funds.
Money talks, rather than ratepayers.

Endless Stupidity

Posted on 30-04-2024 09:37 | By Astoreth

The unending flow of dumb decisions from Council is astounding!
Why on earth would you choose to send buses down the town's narrow streets?
What would make more sense would be a proper transport centre (like Hamilton has) in First Ave. The roadway is already nice and wide, it's close to the shops (well, what shops are left..) but away from shop frontages. Seems so obvious.

The Master

Posted on 30-04-2024 12:19 | By Ian Stevenson

TCC "planning" last time spent >$10m and now they are redoing it.

So here we go again, TCC's "planning" again so that will cost a lot, if they say $5m then more likely $10+m.

The willow Street bus stops (yet again) was TCC's plan that many objected to as a dumb artz place to put it. If only because you have all these massive empty buses blundering around in narrow CBD streets.

Many preferred a bus hum on Cameron Road, that would be sensible of course so not an option for TCC.

The Master

Posted on 30-04-2024 12:22 | By Ian Stevenson

Have to agree that six bus stops spread all along Durham is "exceptional dumb. Typical of TCC to pick the worse possible option, no surprises there.

Considering that most buses have no passengers (unless you count the driver...) most buses are not even meaningless anyways. The buses are around 95% "Road clutter" and present a financial and operation disaster. But of course its ratepayers $$ being wasted so who gives a "Fudge" about it right?

The Master

Posted on 30-04-2024 12:25 | By Ian Stevenson

The bus folly...

Users pay <$2m/pa for ride the bases
RBOP (added to rates) pay some $15-16m/pa
NZTA pay in (from tax collected) around $14-15m/pa
Then there is "other revenue" (what ever that is) $4m or so

Total spent is $36-37m/pa and only $2m or so is related to users. That is around a 95% loss and no chance of that gap closing.

Make it up as you go

Posted on 30-04-2024 13:46 | By Come on TCC!

The great city plan that doesn't have a plan.
Make it up as you go, she'll be right!
I thought that the commissioners where put in power to sort out this incompetence?
Throwing good money after bad, nothing has changed but our debt level and less parking!

!st Ave makes sense to me.

Posted on 30-04-2024 13:55 | By morepork

You don't need buses in the City Centre. Astoreth is right. We still have major problems with the bus fleet; they are too big and too unwieldy. If we had smaller buses, some of the problems identified wouldn't be raised. A hub in 1st avenue could be expanded if needed, after the CBD development is complete and could respond more fluidly to whatever the CBD solution turns out to be. Cynical Me mentioned driverless taxis and these are probably going to be in our future.. There are a number of variables which make carving a bus centre into stone, a high risk and unnecessary exercise. It is folly to spend $5 million on it right now. But it is OPM and we've seen the contempt that the Commission has for that.


Posted on 30-04-2024 14:27 | By Kancho

Well Tolley says it's now for successive councils to look at. Having made a royal mess of it planting gardens a d ripping them out again to put bus stops no one wants there.
What fun no one wants bus stops or buses
. Surely forward planning would have allowed for a proper bus depot

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