Bus services

Graeme Young and Nicola Patrick are crowing about persuading Horizons to increase suburban bus services in Whanganui. Their rationale is based on very dubious statistics gleaned from bus passengers, who are a very small sample of our population.

The percentage of Whanganui citizens who actually use the buses, which appear most often to be almost passenger free, has not been determined but Graeme and Nicola want to more than double the losses incurred by the "service" and paid for by Whanganui ratepayers through a special Horizons rate. It's atrocious!

Some years ago, London Transport calculated that a bus with 20 passengers has the same carbon footprint as 20 people driving cars. To be ecologically efficient, therefore, a bus needs to carry more than 20 passengers.

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In addition, the smoke screens emitted from Tranzit's buses indicate that they regard Whanganui as a retirement village for elderly buses. Those fumes must make the carbon footprint yeti-sized, not to mention their effect on global warming.

In early days Whanganui commerce and industry was focused on our central business district. Suburbs grew along the expanding tram routes so that people could get to work. Horizon's buses traverse very similar routes and no one uses them because work has decentralised.

I have submitted to Horizons about his issue, and they have not taken a blind bit of notice but continued to bleed us dry by running empty buses to and fro.

If we are going to have a suburban bus service in Whanganui, then some imagination should be applied to ensure that the service actually serves the needs of a substantial proportion of our people in an economical way.


Routes could go around or across town and technology could make services more flexible and, perhaps, bring us into the 20th century.

Graeme Young is a proud member of a council faction who are waffling about nil rates increases. Pretty amazing for an engineer who made a successful career by thinking logically?

STEPHEN PALMER
Bastia Hill


Not needed

Now we have a council that is telling us we shouldn't drink alcohol and a Mr Habib saying it should be hidden from public view.

Of course children will pick up the bottles in supermarkets. Some of the labels are very colourful. Separate counters for selling liquor to the public and not visible to the public. Ahh! Secret drinkers!

Why not issue all of us with cards and a thimble - two stamps on the card when you have exceeded your thimbleful and only so many per week/month?

Close all the bottle stores, as they are on full view to the public. This is the 21st century, Mr Habib, and we are not all alcoholics.

While we are at it, close all the pokies in Whanganui. As we are a low socio-economic area, they are a luxury - not needed.

We can also discard a few councillors along the way, as 13 councillors are not needed for a small population, Mr McDouall.

The list of "not needed" could stretch for miles, so let sleeping dogs lie.

M HADDON
Castlecliff


Gallery congrats

Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall and his councillors deserve congratulations for showing the foresight to push the go button on the Sarjeant Gallery redevelopment.

With 90 per cent of the fundraising goal achieved, and $16 million of government funding hanging in the balance, the Whanganui District Council showed real leadership in agreeing to act as guarantor for the remaining $3.9 million required to be raised.

This project will see the preservation of a heritage building that has been part of Whanganui's history for almost 100 years. The redeveloped building and nationally significant art collection it houses will continue to draw visitors for many years to come.

In addition, the build phase of the $34.9 million project will be a valuable injection to the local economy.

Hamish, you and the team deserve a slap on the back for your confident leadership for Whanganui. It is exciting to see this project moving forward, and I can't wait to see the first sod turned on site.

ANNE PATTILLO
Wellington