Safety not an overriding concern at Chch Bus Exchange - Survey
7 January 2004
Most Bus Exchange users surveyed about safety late last year feel that the Christchurch City Council facility is safe.
The survey of 500 people was done in December for Safer Christchurch by the Family and Community division of Anglican Care and the results analysed by Megan Gully and Rowena Foster. People were approached at different times of the day to ensure a good spread of opinion.
More than 60 per cent said they had no personal safety concerns. "What this shows is that the large majority of users surveyed had no personal safety concerns whatsoever about using the Exchange," says Yvonne Palmer, the Safer Christchurch coordinator. "I think it’s important to get this message across because bus use is increasing strongly in the city, which is what’s needed to avoid traffic congestion and save energy, and the community needs to know that the Exchange is a place where people feel safe."
Mrs Palmer says Safer Christchurch decided to commission the research following media coverage over summer in 2001/02 which tended to give the impression that the Bus Exchange was a problem area in the city. "Safer Christchurch was getting a lot of reaction to that coverage, with elderly people and workers worrying about whether the Exchange was a place they should use. The Police, City Council and the facility management put more effort into the area and we wanted to see how people are feeling about it now."
Media coverage about safety at the Exchange often focused on young people. Mrs Palmer says the survey shows people have a better opinion of the city’s young people than do the news media.
"A lot of them talked about how young people’s antics were usually unintentional and not meant to scare people or make them feel unsafe," she says. "The after-school crowd at the Exchange does put pressure on the facility, but a lot of people simply say they work around it and travel at a different time.
"Encouraging public transport’s important to the city. More and more people every year are deciding to take the bus and you can see that with the numbers passing through the Exchange every day," she says. "With that many people, you’re always going to have the odd incident but the point is not to concentrate on the minor things, but to look at how the average person views it - and that is that it’s a safe and convenient place to use."
Safer Christchurch is an organisation which coordinates safety programmes for the city. It is sponsored by the City Council and mainly funded by the Ministry of Justice’s Crime Prevention Unit.
Coordinator Yvonne Palmer can be contacted on 377 2262 or 027 229 5049. Copies of the survey report are available on email from email@example.com
The Bus Exchange began operating in November 2000. It is estimated that about 20,000 bus users a day now pass through the Bus Exchange
Responsibility for public transport services in Christchurch is shared between the City Council and ECan, the regional council. ECan does the planning and contracts operators, while the City Council provides infrastructure such as the Bus Exchange, on-street shelters and road markings.
Red Bus is a City Council company, owned though Christchurch City Holdings Ltd. Information about it can be found on the web at www.redbus.co.nz <http://www.redbus.co.nz>
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