Group to Work on Enhancing Manners Safety

7 December 2010

Wellington City Council and local bus companies are to keep a close watch on pedestrian safety along the new two-way section of the Golden Mile - mainly in Manners Street - via a joint 'taskforce' of representatives from the organisations.

At a meeting this morning, senior Council staff and executives from New Zealand Bus Ltd agreed to set up a task force involving bus companies' management and operations staff as well as Council's transport experts to formally evaluate the performance of the new route and identify ways to improve safety and manage risk to the lowest practicable level.

City Council Infrastructure Director Stavros Michael says the new route is successful. "It's doing what we wanted it to do - to provide a more reliable, efficient and clearly-defined bus route through the CBD and to revitalise the old Manners Mall.

"However neither the Council nor the bus companies are at all happy that two pedestrians have been injured in the past week."

Mr Michael says the group, also involving the Mana and Newlands bus companies, will look at whether more substantial 'transitional' barriers are needed at some points along the route to deter pedestrians from walking out on to the roadway.

NZ Bus Chief Operating Officer Zane Fulljames says the company supports the establishment of  the working group and a review of the operations of the traffic signals on the route, how phasing may be improved and whether more advertising or communication is necessary to remind pedestrians to ensure the roadway is clear before crossing.

Mr Fulljames adds: "I am proud of the way our drivers have conducted themselves as the new route has been bedded in and the input from them as professional drivers has been invaluable in our discussions with the Council."

Mr Michael says the Council wants to recognise and thank the bus drivers who are using the route. "They are working very professionally and driving buses safely in what is a challenging environment."