Proposed changes to Churton Park buses

posted 23 Jul 2013, 15:22 by CPCA Secretary

In early 2012 GWRC proposed a major change to the Churton Park bus services, by routing many of the buses through Newlands. The Community Association, well supported by the community as expressed at public meetings, vigorously opposed these changes.

Since then GWRC has abandoned that proposal and have come up with a revised scheme. The new proposal is to change the existing loop route to a 'there and back' route. The route into the CBD would be the same as at present from Halswater Drive at Middleton Road, but the buses would start from Middleton Road at the roundabout at the end of the new part of Westchester Drive. The homeward trip would be the reverse, via Bassett Road and on through Waverton Tce, Erlestoke Cres, Amesbury Dr, Westchester Dr, Burbank Cres, and Halswater Dr into Middleton Road to the terminus at the roundabout.

Details of the proposed route can be seen on the attached diagram.

Your committee have carefully analysed and discussed this proposal, and have sought further information from GWRC on the investigations and thinking behind the proposal.

According to GWRC, the proposed route will allow residents to get on a bus and travel directly to the Village, which is currently not easily done. A return journey from the Village is available on the current route which would continue.

Although the provision of bus access to the Village has some value, analysis by your committee indicates that the number of people who would use the bus for this purpose would be very small indeed. If there is a need, it would be met better by having a 'shoppers bus' targeted at the most suitable times of the day, rather than changing the commuter bus route for all of every day.

The other claimed advantage is that some residents will have a shorter travel time home, but this is balanced by those who will have a longer journey, which according to the GWRC timetables will be up to 15 minutes additional travel time for each homeward journey. The current loop is fair in that all residents have the same total daily travel time.

There are a number of other major problems raised by the proposal.

  • To maintain the present 30 minute service, the longer distance of the 'there and back' proposal would require an additional bus. This means the present three buses used on the loop would have to be increased to four. Even on a conservative basis, the cost of running that extra bus will be at least $100,000 per year.

  • The 'there and back' option has an additional 5 km running for each return journey. Each year this means an additional 59,000 km of bus running, which will produce an additional 29 tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution released into the atmosphere.

  • Residents in Middleton Road and streets to the east will loose their all day direct service to and from the CBD. They will be served only by the 210 Porirua route and except at peak hours will have to change bus at Johnsonville.

  • No account appears to have been taken of the narrow roads, particularly in the Hawtrey Tce area, that would make the passing of two buses impossible. There are safety matters associated with this which will need investigation and consideration.

GWRC conceded these points but appeared rather unconcerned. The Association’s reason for raising these items was because GWRC appeared to be going against some of the stated aims in their own original bus review mandate. That document acknowledged the need to be cost effective and take into account environmental impacts, and the Association says these particular points seem to be being largely ignored.

GWRC says the proposed changes region-wide will be cost neutral. As a consequence, other areas may have had their services reduced, to provide for the additional costs outlined for Churton Park. CPCA does not want to see any suggestions of favouritism creating division across the city. In the view of CPCA, some of that extra $100,000 of avoidable cost would be better used to provide peak time express buses direct to and from Churton Park, bypassing the Johnsonville hub.

Your Association will continue to engage in dialogue with GWRC, and press for the retention of the current bus route, but supplemented with Express buses.

If you would like to make your views known, please e-mail

CPCA Secretary,
23 Jul 2013, 15:22