Changes are being made to Taihape's ratepayer-funded bus service in the hope more passengers will hop on board.
The monthly service to Whanganui is switching from Fridays to Thursdays from October 31, while the Palmerston North bus will only pass through Feilding on request.
Horizons Regional Council transport planner Kelly Curry said the change was the result of public feedback and one of several improvements set to benefit all users.
"We've heard from a number of potential passengers that the Friday trip clashes with community group meetings. By changing the day to a Thursday we hope to get more of these people on board the bus to Whanganui," Mrs Curry said.
"Our monthly service from Taihape to Palmerston North via Feilding will continue to run on the third Friday of every month, as the Feilding Farmers' Market is proving popular with current passengers and we know some of these passengers are unable to travel on Thursdays."
The Feilding stop would become a flexi-stop, meaning if nobody on board wanted to stop in Feilding that day the driver could continue straight through to Palmerston North.
"We've also streamlined the route through Marton on both services by removing the Junction stop on the corner of Main St and Station Rd. Buses will continue to stop at the taxi offices in High St," she said.
The two bus services have been running since December under a 12-month trial.
In August, members of the Horizons passenger transport committee expressed concern at low passenger numbers and warned they would not continue the services past the end of the year if patronage did not increase.
Since the services were reinstated, passengers have made 109 trips to Whanganui and 147 to Palmerston North.
Mrs Curry said she was pleased to see people using the buses but said patronage must remain steady or improve to keep them on the road.
"We're conscious of the need to strike a balance between picking up new passengers and ensuring the service meets the needs of our current passengers," she said.
Information on the services' timetables and fares are available on the Horizons Regional Council website.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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