Businesses keen for bus stop removal

BUSINESSES in Launceston's St John Street are seemingly united in the belief that antisocial behaviour at bus stops in the inner-city street is detrimental to their cause.

Following Alderman Hugh McKenzie's call that moving the major bus stops would benefit and attract new business, The Sunday Examiner spoke to businesses around the bus stops at the York Street end of St John Street.

A spokeswoman for a national chain store, which is in close proximity to the bus stops, said the anti-social behaviour was negative for business, especially after school.

"You know when the bus is coming, as they [bus passengers] all start to pile up, lean on the windows and lean on the door and people can't get in," she said.

"Sometimes the [antisocial] behaviour can carry on into the store, and big confrontations [at the bus stops] usually happen at least twice a week.

"Then there's shoplifting and we know our regulars. We do get a little bit sales-wise, but there's still negatives that outweigh the positives."

Cleo Bagland manager Tanya Buckney believed it was a good idea for the bus stops to be moved, with Elizabeth Street a good location.

"We wouldn't lose any business if the bus stops weren't there, but I think it would make it safer in the CBD, as there are lots of fights," she said.

Velocci Coffeehouse owner Will Bufton admitted that his business would suffer if the bus stops did move, but believed something needed to be done about controlling the behaviour, saying he saw police in attendance at least every fortnight.

Meanwhile, Sports Authority Company owner Jeff Chugg said he could understand why people would not want to set up a business around the bus stops.

"I can sympathise with people who are directly behind the bus stops," he said.

"We find here if we do have shoplifting trouble, they end up at the bus stops."

All were in agreement that it would have to be a balancing act if the bus stops were moved, considering that the elderly also used public transport.

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