If a new high frequency bus service coming to Whanganui proves popular it could lead to new routes being established in the future, Horizons Regional Council’s public transport chairman says.
The ‘every 20-minutes’ bus service has been given the name Te Ngaru The Tide and starts on February 18.
Horizons passenger transport committee chairman Sam Ferguson said the regional and Whanganui District councils were excited to launch the new route as it would better meet the needs of the community.
“The service will run in both directions from Castlecliff to Aramoho and stop in key locations throughout the city such as the hospital, city centre and upper Victoria Ave shops.”
He said promotion for Te Ngaru starts this week to give residents notice it’s commencing soon.
“This service is the starting point to improving public transport in Whanganui, and positive uptake of it will help support new routes being established in the future.
“It has been delivered in response to calls from the community for better public transport in Whanganui to connect residents and services, as well as help reduce carbon emissions from the private transport network.”
Anthonie Tonnon, Whanganui District Council’s representative on Horizons’ passenger transport committee, said a recent survey on public transport showed some of the main reasons people wanted to travel were for shopping and leisure.
“It’s easier to take a bus to the shops or the beach if you know the return service will be less than 20 minutes away.
“Frequency allows people the option to use a service in their own way – whether they use it for work, the Saturday markets or to go to dinner on a Friday night – or whether they connect to it using a scooter or a bike.”
The new route was named Te Ngaru The Tide after a competition run by the district council in November last year.
Of 270 entries, the council went with a suggestion from one of its own staff members, Gayelene Holly.
She said the bus moved up and down the new route the way the tide moved up and down the river.
“The bus route is like the river ebbing and flowing – catch The Tide!”
The te reo translation provided is Te Ngaru, which means wave.
The wording was chosen because the bus goes to Castlecliff Beach. “Ekea te ngaru” refers to surfers catching waves and it links to buses because “eke” refers to boarding a bus as well.
Council staff are ineligible to win prizes in the competition, so the three $100 vouchers were awarded to the three runner-up community entries.
Winners are James Allen for Ara Tere, Hinerangi Peipi for Te Kaihau o Kupe, and Tracy Worrall for The Wave Rider.
Te Ngaru The Tide bus service will start on February 18 and will run every 20 minutes from Monday to Friday between 7am and 7pm.
On Saturday the bus will run from 9am to 3pm and there’ll be an hourly service on Friday nights between 7pm and 11pm.
Bus stops in order, starting from Castlecliff: Castlecliff Beach, 90 Puriri St, 40 Abbott St (Gonville shops), 28 Tawa St, Hospital Heads Rd, 156 Ridgway St, Trafalgar Square (2 St Hill St), 161 Wicksteed St, 373 Victoria Ave, 54 Glasgow St, 152 Somme Parade (Aramoho shops), opposite 236 Somme Parade.