City needs better central bus exchange
When did you last use one of our urban bus services or a longdistance bus service? If you have seen the inside of the new doubledecker buses that pass through Palmerston North you might be excused for thinking you were on a European or UK intercity train.
OK, they may lack a mobile refreshments service, but with low price fares there’s still plenty of reason to consider taking the bus rather than a car for your next intercity trip. Free wifi, spacious interiors, comfortable seating and tables are signs of the quiet revolution under way in passenger transport.
Urban bus services have recently expanded with more frequent Summerhill and Ashhurst services. The Universal Access scheme enjoyed by Massey and UCOL staff and students has been a strong factor in marketing the Manawatu campus, but patronage could be much higher. High-quality terminal facilities at Main Street are critical for attracting more passengers.
An upgrade of the Main St terminal is planned to deal with growth of urban services. This is a vital opportunity to provide for longer distance passengers. Regional bus services connecting Palmerston North, Feilding, Marton and Levin have experienced strong growth in patronage.
For commuters, shoppers and the growing numbers of international and domestic visitors passing through the city on interregional buses, there is limited shelter from the elements. Smokefree signs are widely ignored. Many comments overheard about Palmerston North are not complimentary.
A purpose-built, high-quality transport facility for both short distance intra-urban and interregional bus services is a key element in CBD revitalisation and promoting public transport as an attractive option. Pre-earthquake the Central Bus Exchange in Christchurch was popular with bus patronage increasing substantially after it opened. Within a few years of the 2011 earthquakes, Christchurch rebuilt its Central Bus Exchange. We have none of the obstacles that Christchurch has faced so why is progress so glacial?
A passenger embarks on an open air bus embarkation on The Square outside iSite.