Sunday, April 14, 2024

15 new bus stops for Whanganui

Construction is set to begin on 15 new bus shelters at key locations across Whanganui.

A collaboration between Horizons Regional Council and Whanganui District Council, the project has secured $1.1 million from Waka Kotahi through the Transport Choices programme and is part of a wider push to improve the local bus network and encourage more people to give public transport a go.

Horizons Regional Council manager transport services, Mark Read says construction on the first few shelters will begin shortly, with all 15 projected to be completed by May 2024.

“This project is all about removing barriers to make it easier for people to use public transport in Whanganui,” says Mr Read.

“One barrier, frequently cited by the community in the 2021 Whanganui Public Transport Survey, is a lack of comfortable passenger facilities – this project responds to that feedback.”

As well as weatherproof shelters, the upgraded bus stops will feature bike racks, digital information boards, and improved accessibility and lighting.

“Each location has been chosen as they are near shopping centres or community hubs, and is in an area already established as a high-traffic bus stop location. Residents nearby have all been advised of the changes and encouraged to provide any feedback or concerns,” said Mr Read.

Whanganui Mayor, Andrew Tripe welcomed the new shelters, which he said would make the local public transport system more attractive and viable.

“For much of our history, Whanganui actually had a thriving public transport system – with our housing stock often deliberately built along tram lines,” he said.

“But over the past several decades, perhaps with the influx of cheaper used cars arriving in New Zealand, public transport use gradually declined – and our local bus services and facilities declined too.”

Mayor Tripe says this has understandably resulted in many people in Whanganui not seeing public transport as a viable option – instead opting for private vehicle journeys.

“But we’re now at a point in time where fuel prices are surging, reducing carbon emissions is a growing priority, and more and more households are feeling the pinch of increased costs of living.”

“So as a district, we really should be doing all we can to reinvigorate our public transport system – and improving our facilities will play an important role in achieving that.”

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