This week SkyCity kicked off a debate about where the Intercity bus terminal should be. Currently it’s almost hidden on the Hobson St side of their premises and was put there as a resource consent condition when the casino was built. However Skycity want to use the space for something else, likely to be related to the construction of the convention centre across the road.
SkyCity Entertainment Group wants Auckland’s InterCity Coachlines station out of its casino headquarters.
Nigel Morrison, chief executive of the $2.6 billion Australasian business, said the busy transport hub, which has operated on the ground floor of the casino giant’s premises since 1996, is not in the best place for either his business or for passengers.
SkyCity is in the final design phase of its $402 million convention centre, to be built opposite the bus station, spanning the Hobson St/Nelson St block. It will have a pedestrian footbridge connection planned over Hobson St and demolition of buildings is due to begin soon.
Mr Morrison said he wanted authorities to examine better locations and suggested Britomart because InterCity would then link with other public transport modes, including trains, suburban buses and ferries. He called for action from Auckland Council.
“We want to do something with the busway. It’s inappropriate and it’s up to the council. It should be down at Britomart or some transport hub, not here,” Mr Morrison said.
Of course as pointed out by the developer of the Britomart area, there’s not really the space for more buses around Britomart right now. As it is buses are spread out all over the place in a confusing mess.
But Matthew Cockram, chief executive of Britomart developer Cooper and Company, bristled at the suggestion.
“It is nice of Nigel to be so concerned about bus passengers and the city’s arrangements to accommodate them,” he said. Britomart was already overloaded with buses.
“Capacity has been reached and there is a pressing need for rethinking and a comprehensive solution for buses in the lower part of the CBD. To drop InterCity in without sorting that out first would be unwise and really only moving deckchairs about,” Mr Cockram said.
While Britomart has its own issues I do think this is a worthy debate to be having. The current location doesn’t seem great for anyone and what’s more it helps towards creating an area that is super unfriendly towards anyone not in a car. As the herald editorial today describes it, it is a cheerless place occupying a dark corner of the casino complex.
I would love to see this side of Skycity redeveloped and made more outward facing, like they have been starting to do with Federal St however they would also need to address the carpark entrance (and exit) that result in a narrow and unfriendly footpath. I’m not a fan of the idea of having an air-bridge spanning Hobson St. Perhaps in return for moving the bus depot this is an opportunity for the council and Auckland Transport to require this block to be redeveloped into a more people friendly state including the closing of those carpark ramps.
As for the bus terminal. It’s likely that with the new network we’ll be seeing a lot of changes to bus arrangements in the CBD, I wonder it could be included in changes being made as part of that. One thing’s for sure the worse option is that suggested by Heart of the City which has long seemed to hate the idea of buses in the city centre (despite buses delivering a huge percentage of the people who go to the CBD).
Alex Swney, Heart of the City chief executive, said the bus depot was in the wrong location “dominated by the SkyCity complex. It’s always been shoe-horned in there.”
He wants it moved to the edge of the CBD.
Where do you think it should go?