A seedy Whangarei facility that attracts undesirable people and activities could go from filthy to funky - and not before time, say many of its users.
The Rose St bus terminal is the subject of a Whangarei District Council (WDC) staff report recommending the facility be improved.
On Thursday the infrastructure committee accepted the Whangarei Bus Services Upgrade report and agreed staff investigate upgrade options to include in the 2018/2021 Long Term Plan.
The report described the Rose St bus hub as being in poor condition, relatively isolated from general CBD activity and affected by weather and wind.
Those qualities, combined with the behaviour of some people who hang out there, put the general public off using the bus service, roading manager Jeff Devine said in the report.
Council staff are not only ones with less than complimentary things to say about the bleak bus terminal. A recurring word in feedback from a community engagement survey was "shameful".
One person said: "It is terrible, really dirty and feels unsafe. We need a new station with a cool, funky design, lighting and little shops."
"This place sucks - we need something better," said another.
Several called for different models to be explored, such as a more user-friendly terminal with a small shopping precinct, relocating it altogether and creating better linkage to the CBD.
Other feedback, also raised in the report itself, suggested the terminal should be closer to long distance bus service stops at the Town Basin, and closer to supermarkets.
The task of fixing up the bus station problem is not WDC's alone, as Northland Regional Council (NRC) runs the bus service via a New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) grant.
The buildings, bus stops, shelters, road marking and signs are the district council's responsibility. Any improvements to the service in general would be a cross-council project and involve full public consultation, Mr Devine said.
During their initial investigations, WDC and NRC staff reviewed whether to keep the terminal in Rose St or relocate it, with four new sites making the cut for consideration: Vine, James and John Sts and the Laurie Hall carpark.
The Vine St option provided the greatest benefits with the least disruption because no roading infrastructure works would be needed to accommodate changed bus routes, the report said.
It would require some amendments to the Vine St roadside and carpark.
Mr Devine said an upgrade would sit well with the council's funded Walking and Cycling Strategy and could also attract a NZTA subsidy.