New Zealand's biggest long-distance bus operators have come out swinging against a proposed Auckland terminal move from the CBD to Manukau.
Tony O'Brien, representing Intercity and InMotion Group - formerly Souter Group - which owns the ManaBus and Naked Bus brands - said the move would hurt the elderly, families and people who had no options other than to use public transport.
"This is a serious issue for the bus companies and about 500,000 travellers who use that terminal every year," O'Brien said.
Auckland Transport said yesterday it favoured a move from SkyCity on Hobson St to a new facility being developed in Manukau but Heart of the City and the Public Transport Users Association opposes this, fearing inconvenience and falling bus patronage.
O'Brien raised a number of issues.
"Forcibly relocating the terminal about 24km way from the city centre is going to result in higher costs for passengers," he said, citing research which showed people would pay approximately $10 extra return per Manukau-CBD journey," O'Brien said.
"InterCity and InMotion oppose any terminal relocation to Manukau," he said.
"Customers are now getting cost-effective services. But there's a lot of vulnerable and elderly people, unaccompanied minors and families using the terminal in the CBD. To move that to Manukau would provide stressful experiences for them. There's now also business uncertainty because I understand there's a seven-year review of the success of the relocation planned by Auckland Transport," he said.
"Auckland Transport's regional public transport plan is for seamless travel. This proposed relocation is the absolute opposite of seamless travel," O'Brien said.
"We are also concerned about ManaBus and Naked Bus losing their stops on Quay St in the CBD because they will also be moved to Manukau."
Relocation could increase costs to passengers by up to 40 per cent, he said.
Research by InterCity and InMotion showed 47 per cent of travellers would be less likely to book and use long-distance buses if the terminal location changed, he said.
"We carried out a significant amount of research in 2014 around the time of your article," O'Brien said referring to a previous Herald report.
We are also concerned about ManaBus and Naked Bus losing their stops on Quay St in the CBD
He also fears tourist and back-packer buses which stop at various points in the city, might be removed from the CBD.
"AT have told us they're going to address issues around other bus companies," O'Brien said.
A spokesman for Auckland Transport said yesterday nothing had yet been decided.
"We have done an assessment and have decided that Manukau is a good option," a spokesman said, describing talks with the inter-city operators.
"It has a good area for the pick-up of passengers, has excellent connections to public transport in the east and south and for anyone heading to the city or the north or west the Manukau Train Station is just steps away," the AT spokesman said.
Who uses SkyCity Hobson St inter city Auckland bus terminal?
• 45 per cent: Auckland residents
• 40 per cent: New Zealanders who live outside Auckland
• 15 per cent: international tourists