Shuttles came out of somewhere
in "The Search" already...
Docking nose first allows the ship to reach the bottom of a fairly deep "bay" in the station's structure. The only other way to get in there would be to ease the ship in sideways. Dorsal or ventral approaches would require a telescoping tunnel, which would negate the supposed advantages of the position change.
Using the shuttlebay to facilitate greater flow of goods or personnel would not work because the narrow airlock at the station is a bottleneck. OTOH, by connecting the nose to the airlock, our heroes leave the shuttlebay and possible cargo bays free to be opened into space, so that goods can flow into the cargo holds of the station by the supposed large cargo doors there (such as the ones seen opening in "Dramatis Personae").
Docking directly with the high capacity cargo doors might be tricky. But "Dramatis Personae" makes it look as if these are on the inner surface of the outer ring (or perhaps on the sides of the connecting spokes), and indeed there are some features in the model at such locations that could be taken for the doors (although not exactly). Easing a ship inside the ring and turning her belly outward towards the ring or the spoke would be a cool maneuver!