Palmerston North mobile library's new edition

The Palmerston North mobile library's days on the road are numbered, with a new, sleeker, cleaner model expected to take over its routes next month.

The clean-drive, diesel-powered vehicle is expected to arrive in the city next week.

After final sign-writing, and driver and maintenance training, the bus will be loaded up with books and resources and ready for take-off at the Festival of Cultures on March 16 to 17.

City council project manager Katherine Stannard said the vehicle, built by Kiwi Bus Builders in Tauranga, was on track to be completed within the $500,000 budget.

The new vehicle will have a low floor, a kneel-down section with an optional fold-out ramp at the front for easy access, and a flat floor for most of its 12-metre length.

It will not provide full wheelchair access but will be more accessible for elderly or less nimble users than the current vehicle.

The council had earlier planned to purchase a fully electric, battery-powered vehicle, but the original tenders for the green technology came in well above the original $800,000 budget.

"It's as clean as we can get," said Ms Stannard.

The new arrival would allow for the retirement of the old mobile library which has served the city for more than 20 years.

Its book value has been written down to zero, and it has been a growing challenge to nurse it through its certificate of fitness tests.

Manawatu Standard