More frequent buses but more transfers
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.’’