Wrapped in a warm jacket, fitted in podiatry shoes, standing straight as a fence post over a walker and wife at his side, Peter Dunne caught the bus to hospital today.

Not just any bus, but the new 650 bus that takes residents from Selwyn Village in Pt Chevalier and "dumps" them on Green Lane West to walk 300m, via a pedestrian crossing on one of the city's busiest roads, to the Greenlane Clinical Centre.

Until last month, the elderly, mums with sick children, people in plaster casts and using crutches, could catch the 007 bus on the same route and be dropped inside the hospital grounds.

If I run out of breath I have got to stop walking

Auckland Transport says the new cross-town route is more attractive and quicker by up to five minutes by not going into the hospital. The bus stops on Green Lane West adds about 100m of walking for patients to the clinic, it says.


But the axing of the bus service into the clinical centre has angered residents from Selwyn Village who say they are being "dumped" on the roadside.

Today, Peter and wife Lesley caught the new bus service for the first time to travel to Greenlane for a regular monthly check up. It was raining when the bus pulled up at the village, but Peter, an 80-year-old retired cobbler and jack of all trades, was in a positive mood.

The 650 bus departs from Selwyn Village. Photo / Michael Craig
The 650 bus departs from Selwyn Village. Photo / Michael Craig

On the bus, Peter said he was going to get to the clinic no matter what, but it would be a lot harder than before, particularly as he operates on one-third lung power.

"I feel I might not be able to make it. If I run out of breath I have got to stop walking," he said.

At Green Lane West, Peter and Lesley got off the bus and walked alongside one another to the pedestrian crossing, taking small steps with the help of a walker.

After making it safely to the clinic, Peter was pleased for the exercise but breathing deeply and coughing.

"It was not easy ... not as good as sitting on the bus," said Peter, who in a lifetime has been on the operating table 21 times, involved in 12 car crashes, suffered several strokes and a heart attack. And just walked 300m for medical treatment.

As Lesley put it in a recent letter to AT: "I can't believe anyone in their right mind, taking away a well-established service, especially from a hospital/clinic for medical treatment to those in need of it."


An AT spokesman said the new central city bus network, which includes the 650 bus service, will be reviewed after three months in October after looking at customer feedback, driver feedback and patronage data.

"It's too early to say for certain whether the 650 bus route will be changed to go into Greenlane Clinical Centre, but it will definitely be considered," the spokesman said.

Peter Dunne said it should not be a biggie putting the bus back into the clinic.

"What they have got to do is show a bit of concern for others," he said.

To provide feedback on the new bus services, go to: busreview@at.govt.nz.