Anger mounts over buses

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

A wo­man who has been abused by bus driv­ers while walk­ing her chil­dren up Mt Eden wants ve­hi­cles banned from the moun­tain.

An­gela Sparks says buses have been forced to slow down be­hind her when she was push­ing a pram up the nar­row road to the sum­mit.

In some cases she has been in­sulted when she couldn’t get out of the way.

“A driver jumped out of the bus and ver­bally abused me. I asked why he didn’t just go up the Sky Tower if he was in such a hurry and he in­sulted me.”

Ms Sparks spoke to the Auck­land City Coun­cil’s arts, cul­ture and re­cre­ation com­mit­tee last month about the prob­lem.

She con­grat­u­lated the coun­cil on recog­nis­ing that heavy buses need to be re­moved, but was not happy with the pro­posal to re- place them with smaller shut­tle buses.

Ms Sparks said tour buses could stop at the old kiosk, the pro­posed site of a vis­i­tors’ cen­tre, and vis­i­tors could walk the rest of the way to the sum­mit.

“It’s a nat­u­ral site, peo­ple should be able to visit it nat­u­rally.”

Com­mit­tee chair­man Greg Moyle said a lot of the buses car­ried el­derly peo­ple who might not be able to make the walk.

“This coun­cil needs to get a so­lu­tion that ap­peases as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble.”

Friends of Maun­gawhau vol­un­teer group chair­man Kit How­den also voiced his con­cerns about man­age­ment of the moun­tain.

“It’s an in­ter­na­tional her­itage site with 1.2 mil­lion vis­i­tors a year and half of those are over­seas vis­i­tors.

“They pay noth­ing to the care of the moun­tain, nor do the television crews and me­dia who use it.

“It’s been com­mer­cially ex­ploited and poorly man­aged.”

He said a lot of money had been spent on con­sul­tants look­ing at the moun­tain’s man­age­ment, but there had been no im­prove­ments on the ground aside from work by vol­un­teers. “There must be a bet­ter way.” The group sup­ports the kiosk, pre­vi­ously known as Lang­tons Restau­rant, be­ing turned into a low-cost vis­i­tor and com­mu­nity cen­tre with a cafe.

It is also con­cerned about the sta­bil­ity of the road and old quarry sites and says heavy traf­fic needs to be ur­gently re­moved.

Un­der the re­vised Maun­gawhau-Mt Eden man­age­ment plan re­leased in Fe­bru­ary last year, the coun­cil has al­lo­cated $2 mil­lion over the next three years for the pro­tec­tion and en­hance­ment of the moun­tain.

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