More fre­quent buses but more trans­fers

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Would bus trav­ellers be pre­pared to ac­cept more trans­fers in ex­change for more fre­quent and ex­ten­sive ser­vices?

That’s a the ques­tion that a Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil con­sul­ta­tion will ask com­muters next year.

A re­view of city bus ser­vices pro­poses in­creas­ing the num­ber of core routes op­er­at­ing 15- minute ser­vices and ex­tend­ing sec­ondary routes with 30-minute all day ser­vices.

The down­side would be some pas­sen­gers need­ing to trans­fer ser­vices en route.

The coun­cil’s eco­nomic well­be­ing com­mit­tee agreed to be­gin con­sult­ing users in Jan­uary.

Coun­cil se­nior pub­lic trans­port plan­ner Doug Weir said a 15 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of bus trips was pro­posed, in­creas­ing the fre­quency of ser­vices.

Out­side the meet­ing he said new trans­fer stops would be es­tab­lished at strate­gic points but he would not say specif­i­cally where.

‘‘The bulk of peo­ple won’t be af­fected by a trans­fer be­cause even in those outer ar­eas we will be run­ning full ser­vices any­way.

The trans­fer sta­tions would be spa­cious, well-lit and have real time travel in­di­ca­tors but he did not ex­pect the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple mak­ing trans­fers need­ing to wait.

‘‘The whole idea is to make those trans­fers im­me­di­ate trans­fers.’’

In the coun­cil’s quar­terly re­view com­mit­tee mem­bers had been told 99.8 per cent of bus ser­vices had run on time, with ‘‘on-time’’ de­fined as no more than 10 min­utes late.

How could trans­fers work if one or more of the con­nec­tion ser­vices were al­lowed to run that late?

Mr Weir said the real time travel in­for­ma­tion would let driv­ers and pas­sen­gers know when the next bus was due and it would also al­low coun­cil of­fi­cers to plan more re­li­able ser­vices be­cause they would know how long a par­tic­u­lar ser­vice took at a par­tic­u­lar time of day.

Bus pri­or­ity traf­fic light con­trols would also help, he said.

‘‘ We have large num­ber of trans­fers that go on ev­ery day – bus to bus, bus train, train to bus.

‘‘In­ter­na­tional re­search shows us that peo­ple are pre­pared to do it if it leads to bet­ter ser­vices and more ser­vices.’’

He ex­pected a slight drop off in pa­tron­age with the in­tro­duc­tion of changed timeta­bles but a sus­tained rise later. Cur­rently most ser­vices don’t run in evenings or week­ends and some ar­eas, such as Owhiro Bay, are not served at all.

‘‘It will be in­ter­est­ing to see what peo­ple think of it and whether they give us the goa­head.’’

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