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Manners lane too tight, say bus drivers

Nov 25th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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DANGER WARNING: Bus lane opponents leave a message.

WELLINGTON bus drivers are worried the new Manners Street bus lane is too narrow to be safe.

The Wellington Tramways Union, which represents GO Wellington bus drivers, is concerned buses and pedestrians will be put at risk when the bus lane opens on Sunday.

Drivers and the union have not been consulted about the changes to Manners mall, says union secretary Kevin O’Sullivan.
There will be 400mm between two mirrors when passing, so buses will have to be perfectly straight when they enter the lanes.

“The drivers are used to driving around narrow streets, [but] this one looks a bit more narrow than the rest,” he says.

It is also understood by the union that bus company GO Wellington has ordered 40 new wing mirrors in the expectation some may smash when buses using the lane pass.

However, GO Wellington has not responded to NewsWire requests for comment on that claim.

Mr O’ Sullivan warns that buses hugging the kerb to avoid collisions could mean danger for pedestrians.

“The biggest worry is not so much the mirrors smashing, but people’s heads smashing. On some of the buses, the mirrors over-hang the footpath.”

The union will deal with issues as they arrive in “what looks like a bit of a mess”, he says.

Concerns about pedestrian safety in the new mall have led Wellington City Council to launch a pedestrian safety campaign.

The council’s $11 million budget for the Manners transformation included $70, 000 for the campaign, which urges pedestrians to “Get across safely – look both ways”.

The Manners Bus lane will complete the Golden Mile bus route, intended to speed up traffic flow from Courtenay Place to the railway station.

The union claim of about a 400mm gap – the width of a computer keyboard – between bus mirrors is even tighter than estimates made by NewsWire last week.

Our reporters measured buses and the lane and calculated a minimum of 700mm – the length of an adult’s arm.

Well bus graphic NW

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