Big boost to public transport use as Whanganui catches The Tide
Published on 21 April 2023
Some of the bus drivers for Te Ngaru The Tide
Joint media release with Horizons Regional Council
The Horizons region’s newest public transport route has contributed to a large increase in the number of people using public transport in Whanganui.
Te Ngaru The Tide, a frequent route running between Castlecliff and Aramoho and stopping at key locations such as the hospital, city centre and upper Victoria Ave shops, launched on 18 February.
Horizons Regional Council’s manager transport services Mark Read says statistics collected since The Tide’s launch show Whanganui has embraced the service.
“Public transport trips in Whanganui increased 86 percent in March 2023 when compared to March 2022 – this is a massive boost. Forty-five percent of all Whanganui trips are now on The Tide,” says Mr Read.
“Te Ngaru The Tide is now the third most used public transport route in the Horizons region and the most used in Whanganui.”
The success of The Tide shows people want alternative modes of transport, says Mr Read.
“The Tide is an example of how we can take practicable steps to help people fulfil that goal. Getting more people using public transport makes it easier for everyone to get to the places we work, live and play.
“Whanganui District Council has been a key part of establishing The Tide, collaborating with Horizons to provide the service for the people of the city.
“The launch of The Tide coincided with Horizons’ rollout of Connect, the new brand for public transport which will be phased in on all services across the region during the next year or so.
“Whanganui has also had good uptake of the Transit app, which gives people an easy way to access real-time information, making catching The Tide and other public transport services easy.”
Whanganui District Council’s representative on Horizons’ Passenger Transport Committee, Anthonie Tonnon, says: “From other centres, we’ve seen it usually takes months to grow patronage for a new service, so it’s amazing to see such a quick increase in public transport use and a range of people – young and old – making The Tide part of their day.
“It’s also really heartening to see other routes on the network performing strongly. Because people can transfer between services, the increase in frequency from The Tide can benefit other routes as well.”
He says The Tide buses were chosen to be suitable for high and low-peak times.
“Since The Tide has launched in Whanganui we have seen an increase in passengers each week. Sometimes you may see just a few people on board when the bus goes past – but with the bus going every 20 minutes and people catching The Tide at many points between Castlecliff and Aramoho, passenger numbers really add up. Ensuring the buses have the capacity now to cope with increased patronage later means we won’t have to upgrade them.
“Another great thing about these buses is their low-floor boarding, which makes them very accessible,” Anthonie Tonnon says.
For more information about Te Ngaru The Tide, the Transit app and other public transport services, see https://www.horizons.govt.nz/buses-transport