Lollipops, grid on planners' menu
Horizons Regional Council options to encourage more people to use improved bus services have been released for public feedback.
The proposals range from increasing frequency on existing routes, through a "lollipop" layout where each service does a small loop at the end of its route, through to a high frequency, intersecting grid system.
Whichever is preferred and adopted will add to transport service rates for everyone.
The cheapest option would double the current bill of $26 a year for a property with a $280,000 capital value. Lollipops would put the rate up to between $81 and $148.
The maximum frequency grid system would cost a total of up to $17.5 million to implement - between $165 and $265 for every ratepayer.
The three main network options have been developed based on feedback received in 2013, and on work by a stakeholder group including representatives from UCOL, Massey University, Palmerston North City Council, the New Zealand Transport Agency, transport operators and users.
All three networks would run from 6.20am to 7.40pm on weekdays, 8am to 6pm on weekends, and offer services from 8pm until 11pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Horizons passenger transport committee chairwoman Rachel Keedwell said increased use of public transport was the way of the future and that Palmerston North needed a sustainable network to grow with its needs.
"To encourage greater use of public transport and decreased use of private cars we need a really good public transport system."
Keedwell wanted people who did not use buses to provide feedback as well as regular passengers. "This will help us understand why people do and don't use the buses, and how we could entice more people onto the buses," she says.
An information booklet on the options is available from Horizons, the iSite, the Massey University Library and on board Horizons buses.
People can have their say by completing and returning the survey in the booklet.
A voting station has also been set up at the Main St terminal, with tokens available from bus drivers.
Horizons will have a presence at markets and Massey's flatting expo throughout the feedback period and more information is available online at horizons.govt.nz
Feedback will be accepted until the end of Monday, September 1, before being collated by Horizons' transport team and given back to the passenger transport committee for consideration in November.
- Manawatu Standard
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