I love the idea of having public transport as part of the mall, not just tacked into the side of a building, or 5min walk away across several streets with heavy groceries.

Sylvia Park is a great example of the right direction, though I think that more work could be done to stream line the process of going from the shops to the bus, or from the train station to the bus. There are a lack of signage at both ends and within the mall. There should be bus timetables at the Train Station, and Train timetables at the Bus Station.

Here is what I consider essential to the uptake of public transport, and making PT relevant and usuable for everyone that uses shopping centres.

1) Routes – All PT routes near a shopping centre should stop at that shopping centre. The stops/stations should be as close as physically possible to each other, and different routes should use the same where possible stops, not different stops blocks away.

2) Access – Stops / Stations should be convenintly located to main entrances to the mall. They should not be located outside the carpark, but rather right next to the door. There should be undercover access to the stop/station

3) Station Quality – Stops / Stations should have enough seating for the majority of shoppings using PT. The station should be undercover, and have windbreaks and where possible should be inside the building (like the new waiting room in the Christchurch Exchange) but unlike the Invercargill Bus waiting room (which is about 300m from most of the bus stops.
Stops shoud have the complete time tables displayed for all routes in the area (including routes which may depart from other nearby areas). Additionally electronic signs must be visible and display the next 5 buses or so on the way (Christchurch is pretty damm good for this)

4) Intergration with the Mall – Public transport times should be cocurrent and relevant to the hours of the shopping center. The shopping center should display time table information within the mall, perhaps in the food courts or at a high traffic zone which is further away from where the station is.

Pubic Transport intergration needs to be included in our resource consent procedure. It’s no longer relevant to dictate only parking space numbes required. This is an easy out. Shopping centres need to be challenged and required to intergrate public transportation options into their centre and make those options accessible, easy, relevant to shoppers needs and a viable solution to getting to the mall, whether for shopping or business. Shopping Centers, should be required to put funding toward intergrating and developing the public transport which services their location. Just like they are required to build car parking buildings to provide a minimum number of car parking spaces, so should development of PT be required.

Case Study
Westfield Riccarton Shoppingtown is one of the largest malls in New Zealand. Westfield plans to build it into the largest mall in Australasia. Unfortunately, while it sits on the busy and congested riccarton rd, near the heart of christchurch and with over 10 bus routes, intergration with transport is woeful. There are 4 bus stops which service Riccarton Mall. Of those the closest, the minimum distance to walk is 100metres from the mall exit , which is unshelted from wind or rain. The stop on the other side of the road is another 100 meters away. There is no instore mall signage for public transport to advise people where the bus stops are, nor to advise the times of services.

Lets use an example. A tourist is visiting Christchurch. She’s staying in the central city, but decides to catch the bus to Riccarton to do some shopping. She goes to the Bus Exchange and hops on the next bus to Riccarton, easy. When she comes out of the mall, it’s 8pm, it’s raining and cold. She doesn’t have a rain jacket. She has spent about $400 and has her arms full of shopping. She walks, 200m in the rain, carring her heavy bags. She finally gets to cross the busy riccarton rd, to find out that she has just missed her bus, and there won’t be another one for another 20minutes. Had she known the times of the bus in the mall, she could have grabbed a coffee, or finished shopping earlier. Instead, she has to has a first choice of spending 10minutes walking to and fro from the mall, in the rain, carrying her heavy shopping. She chooses to wait, in the cold, sheltered from most of the rain, but not from the blow back.

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