Horizons Regional Council is sending out questionnaires and inviting residents to go on-line to answer questions about our local "bus service". I use inverted commas because to qualify as a service it would have to be a lot better than it is.
But we knew that would happen, didn't we?
When Whanganui combined with Manawatu for bureaucratic reasons and ease of management, and all the bureaucrats migrated to Palmerston North, we knew that Whanganui would be submerged by our less attractive neighbour. Most of the resources go to Manawatu with Whanganui being an afterthought.
As an exercise, go to the Horizons website and compare the bus services in Palmerston North and Whanganui. You'll be surprised, perhaps shocked.
Our bus service is rubbish in comparison, in every way. Frequency of buses, city area covered, weekend and public holiday services ... everything. One could use population differences as a reason, but it doesn't really add up.
Whanganui's bus service leaves out two suburbs entirely (Bastia Hill and Durie Hill), ignores most of the city in its routes and leaves everyone stranded on Sundays and public holidays. Saturday services are minimal.
The only people who can use the buses in Whanganui are beneficiaries and pensioners - in other words, people who don't have to go to work.
While you might manage to get a bus to some place within a long walk of your employment, don't imagine you'll be able to get home again. Our last bus leaves the city at 10 past five! You either have to finish early or train hard to be a top sprinter to make it to the bus stop in time.
Don't take my word for it; check the website. It has all the timetables.
Whanganui's bus service has been in steady decline since Horizons took over the management, and each withdrawal of services has been justified by lack of patrons, apparently.
It's very easy to make a service unusable and then complain that nobody's using it.
So now we have a questionnaire in which we can have our say about the so-called service. Does that mean the service will be improved if we complain?
Horizons have stated they have put off any improvements to observe the trend.
So, what exactly is the survey for? A conscience salve? Something to do with public perception? Or just another way to gobble up the rates we pay for bugger all return?