Bus service a winner
Nelson City Council's new Nelson to Richmond NBus service is winning praise from passengers, cyclists, drivers and people with disabilities.
The improved service's four brand new Chinese-built buses feature bike holders, technology that allows the vehicles to "kneel" and ramps for wheelchairs and push chairs.
The yellow bike holders on the front of each bus can carry two bikes each. Cyclists are responsible for loading and unloading their bikes and to help them get familiar with the holders, cyclists are invited to practise loading and unloading their bikes at the Bridge St bus depot this Saturday from 10am till 12noon.
Chair of Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust David Bonnett said the racks were very easy to use.
"It's great to have this facility to put bikes on buses to allow better integration between cycling and public transport.
"I encourage everyone who is interested to give it a try," he said.
Bus driver Dave Brown said the new vehicles were "right up there" and passengers had been praising them for their roominess and comfort.
"People find them really easy to get on and off. The fact there are no steps is huge," he said.
Dave said the buses' air conditioning was "very good" and they offered useful big luggage racks for things like pushchairs, along with spaces for wheelchairs.
Dave also likes the way they drive.
"They're very smooth. When I first looked at them, the length of them was scary but they handle really well," he said.
The ease of getting on and off the new buses has impressed Nelson man Don McLennan who has mobility issues.
A regular user of the service, Don wasn't a big fan of the old buses.
"I could get on them but getting off them was like coming down Niagara Falls," he said.
Don said the new buses were "really good news" for the elderly and people with disabilities.
"Look at the width of the door, it's magnificent," he said.
Nelson City Council infrastructure portfolio holder councillor Gail Collingwood said improving public transport had been high on the list of resident's requests for many years.
We're delighted to be able to start delivering that improved service now and can only hope that Nelson people take the chance to use the service and make sure it will be viable into the future," she said.
Gail said the level of service provided by the new NBus fleet would be a great incentive for commuters to give it a try.
"They'll enjoy the benefits of a relaxing trip to and from work and help reduce the number of vehicles on our roads," she said.
The service now sees buses running every 15 minutes between Nelson and Richmond in peak times and every 30 minutes off peak.
The services alternate via Tahunanui and Bishopdale and operate for more hours each day.
For full details collect a timetable from the council office, libraries, the bus depot on Bridge St or visit nbus.co.nz