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Residents' Campaign to Save Highbury Bus Gains Traction

Residents' Campaign to Save Highbury Bus Gains Traction

Hundreds of inner city hillside residents are fighting the Wellington
Regional Council to keep their bus service intact.

More than 400 residents have so-far signed a petition to maintain the
direct bus link from their homes in Highbury to the local Kelburn
Normal School, doctors, chemist, Victoria University and work places
on The Terrace.

The council plans to scrap the Highbury-Kelburn bus route next year.
Residents say the new route to the city via Aro Valley shows transport
planners are more concerned about dollars than people.

"It’s like the Island Bay cycle way situation all over again. They’re
ignoring the needs of residents,” Penny Miles says.

“We’ve tried to tell them that we don’t want this change, so we’re
going to keep fighting.”

Elderly resident Darea Sherratt is concerned she will not be able to
take the bus to her doctor anymore.

“Public transport should be designed with the residents in mind but
this change ignores our community’s needs. The decision is complete
madness”, she says.

“We’ve had a bus to Kelburn for over fifty years now, so why are they
changing it?”

Fellow resident Rodney Lewington has joined the campaign.

“For residents like me this is a crucial service. There is nothing in
Aro Valley other than the video shop and cafes. My local GP, Guy
Jenner, is in Kelburn, not down the Valley," says Rodney Lewington.

Highbury parents will also lose bus access to the local primary
school. The bus comes into its own in the winter time to shelter from

“Walking home from school in the rain is a real pain,” says seven year
old John Crump.

“I like catching the bus from Kelburn School.” he says.

Residents who work in the CBD are also annoyed their link to the
Terrace will go. The new route will make the morning commute much
longer if the bus gets caught in the Willis Street log- jam.
Wellington Girls’ College students and Victoria University students
have also voiced their concerns.

The petition will be presented to the Greater Wellington Regional
Council's Sustainable Transport Committee next week.

"If the committee is true to its name, it will take notice of
Highbury, and keep the bus service as it is,” says Penny Miles

“Council has suggested residents make do with the new bus by getting
off the Highbury bus at Raroa Road and walking to either Kelburn or
the Karori Tunnel to connect with other buses, to get to Kelburn, the
University and The Terrace. This is impractical, particularly in poor
weather and for elderly.”

"I'd like to see those planners come and make that walk in a howling
southerly" said Darea Sherratt.


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