Route 3 of the eBus network will extend to Toi Toi Street following its removal from Jenner Road as the new service continues to rise in popularity according to the latest passenger data.
At the Joint Regional Transport Committee in late October, it was highlighted that the eBus would likely need to be permanently rerouted from Jenner Road following damage to the road and the high cost of fixing it to accommodate the new buses.
“The damage we saw on Jenner Road was at the narrowest point of the street where all vehicles, including the eBus were using the same wheel path, essentially subjecting the road to double the load more regularly” explains Group Manager Infrastructure Alec Louverdis.
“Elsewhere on the road where it’s wider, vehicles naturally travel different paths (left and right), but where the road narrows, all vehicles end up using the same piece of road which is why the road failed.”
While the eBus won’t be returning to Jenner Road, we look forward to welcoming passengers along Toi Toi Street from December 2023.
Nelson Coachlines has tested the new route with an eBus to ensure that it can travel up and down the road comfortably and safely.
“There’s been a lot of heavy traffic up this road for the new subdivision being built, so we knew the road is able to handle the loadings. The bus will use the roundabout at the intersection of Toi Toi Street and Abraham Heights,” says Louverdis.
Council will consider the location of permanent stops and follow a consultation process with nearby residents. We expect to update the timetable and have bus stops in place by mid December.
Route 3 is well used and has experienced an increase in patronage since launch day on August 1. Patronage for Route 3 in August was 6,079 increasing to 7,594 by October 31. This is an increase which was consistent across the network.
Patronage for October increased by 6,721 across the entire eBus network. The last three months of the former NBus service had patronage of 127,392, while the first three months of eBus had patronage of 218,271, an increase of 71%.
Of particular interest is an increase of 1,119 journeys on Route 4 over the month. The Sunday of the Brook Sanctuary open day was particularly busy.
“The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary Open Day events are held twice each year. They are well attended and really benefit from more transport options that visitors can choose from. Parking space is limited for private vehicles so we encourage visitors to walk, bike or take a bus instead,” says Ru Collins, CEO of The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary.
“It was great to see the service well used for the last open day. A total of 1440 visitors attended this event and we are sure that the bus option helped offer a useful transport alternative. This service indirectly helped with easing parking pressure and assisted with a great relaxed day out.”
The Saturday and Sunday services continue to grow, increasing by over 500 journeys since the launch of the eBus service.
There was a shift in numbers over the school holidays. Route 1, which tends to carry a lot of high school students had an 10% drop in numbers compared with the fortnight before the school holidays. All other routes experienced an increase in patronage over the school holidays.
In particular, the Motueka and Wakefield routes, had increases of 45% and 56% respectively. Motueka had its best day since the launch on Wednesday 4 October with 290 journeys.
“It’s good to see bus patronage continuing to rise month by month since the launch on 1 August. This reflects the fact that people are liking the new eBuses and increasingly using the service,” says Nelson Mayor Nick Smith.
“We still welcome feedback so we can continue to make refinements.”