Metlink to improve safety for customers at Bunny Street Terminus
Metlink has committed to a two-stage strategy to help reduce the anti-social behaviour that occurs near bus stops in Bunny Street, Lower Hutt and improve facilities for passengers at the terminus.
Disquiet over the behaviour was noted in a recent safety audit for Hutt City which described assaults and robberies in the area, where youth offenders have victimised other youth and retailers, as of ongoing concern for the wider community,
“The safety audit showed that some of the problems arise from a mix of crowded bus stops and poor sightlines that hide offending and make people vulnerable to crime,” says Metlink General Manager Samantha Gain.
“Passenger crowding and congestion concentrate groups of youths in confined areas, leading to incidences of unlawful behaviour, especially after 5:30pm when shops close.
“Ensuring the safety of our passengers is fundamental to Metlink and we are going to build that into a new design and layout for our bus stops that promotes public safety. We want passengers to be able to use our facilities with confidence. No-one should feel unsafe.”
Many of the problems occur at the eastern end of Bunny St near Metlink bus stop C, where old fashioned poorly designed single-entrance shelters both pose an entrapment risk and mask criminal activity, a layout that also obstructs CCTV sight lines.
“Metlink is addressing these issues to ensure public transport services are safe and attractive for customers. Using crime prevention through environmental design principles, we’ve worked with Hutt City to develop a two-stage strategy to reduce crime and improve bus operations and customer service in the area,” says Samantha Gain.
Hutt City Mayor Campbell Barry expressed support for the strategy, saying “ensuring the safety of people in this area is an absolute priority. While there are clearly wider social issues to address, these changes, alongside other measures, are necessary steps to provide people with confidence that they are safe as they go about their daily business.”
In the first stage of the strategy, which will come into effect within six months, the existing shelter at Stop C will be removed to open sightlines and eliminate opportunities for entrapment. It will be replaced by an awning-style shelter along the mall fence line, which will be much more open to view and incorporate built-in the safety features of lighting and CCTV.
“Stage one focuses on lifting the veil from the danger area and reducing risk to customers and others in the area.”
Stage two, which is being planned for implementation in the second half of next year, will focus on providing more spacious and modern bus shelters.
Metlink plans to add more bus stops to Queens Drive, where the busier main street will provide increased opportunity for casual surveillance from pedestrians, retail and passing traffic. It will also introduce double-length stops to more evenly distribute waiting passengers.
“The outcome will be reduced crowding, easier access to buses and less traffic congestion,” says Samantha Gain.
More detail will be provided as the infrastructure is developed and the new arrangement comes into operation.