Fifteen new bus stops with digital display boards will be popping up around Whanganui at a cost of $1.2 million.
The Government is picking up 90 per cent of the tab with Horizons Regional Council Whanganui District Council funding the rest.
Horizons transport manager Mark Read said the money was part of the Government’s transport choices programme.
“There has been a lot of work behind the scenes to get the initial scoping work done,” he said.
“When we launched the Tide service we put in a digital board down at the St Hill Street terminal and that displays, in real-time, when the next departures are going to be.
“That was a bit of a taste of what the Whanganui public can expect to see across other parts of the bus network.”
The new stops would be replacements or upgrades of existing sites, Read said.
He said having to wait for a bus in bad weather without an exact idea of when it was coming was a barrier.
Read said the stop would be “something you would expect in Wellington or Auckland or overseas”.
“For those that might be sight impaired, push a button and it’ll read out how far the bus is.
“We know many of our Whanganui bus users are in an older demographic so we need to support them as well.”
The locations of the stops would be revealed later this week during a presentation to the District Council, Read said.
The Tide, which runs every 20 minutes, is the only high-frequency service in Whanganui.
Read said if it continued to be popular that could prompt a discussion in 12 to 18 months’ time on whether more routes needed to follow suit.
“At that point, maybe we could think about breaking down the big loops the buses currently run, make them more direct, or making them a little bit more high frequency.
“We have to make sure it’s meeting the community’s needs and it’s what they want from a level of service and cost point of view.”
Targets in Horizons’ transport plan include 10 per cent of travel in the region being made on public transport and a 300 per cent increase in public transport use, both by 2032.
The new stops would be “vandal-proof”, Read said
“We know bus stops can be a bit of an attraction for vandalism, and while that’s really disappointing, we often design around that.
“They still provide a really good level of service and safety to our users but you don’t need to constantly replace the glass or anything like that.
Making bus stops accessible for all users was also really important.
“Currently, there might just be a pole and a little concrete pad and that’s it,” Read said.
“That might be ok for some it’s not good enough for a lot of people who want to catch the bus.”