Bus with one passenger going through chop as empty seats hit council in again pocket

Blenheim’s south-west averages just over one passenger a day.

2021-04-23 14:56:56

Blenheim might reclaim its title as a one-bus city with a service that draws only one passenger a day going through the ultimate pink mild.

Blenheim’s south-west averages just over one passenger a day.

Blenheim’s south-west bus averages simply over one passenger a day.
Picture: CHLOE RANFORD / LDR

Return bus routes have been trialled within the city’s south-west and south-east suburbs in a bid to present residents extra journey choices.

However low attendance put the brakes on the south-east bus final December, and final week the Marlborough District Council beneficial doing the identical within the south-west after stories it was limping together with 33 riders a month – or simply over one a day.

For one of many route’s regulars, retiree Karen Deakin, the change would imply turning to taxis – “not as low-cost as catching the bus”.

Retiree Karen Deakin says she uses the south-west bus to visit Blenheim

Retiree Karen Deakin says she makes use of the south-west bus to go to Blenheim.
Picture: CHLOE RANFORD / LDR

The 60-year-old lived a number of hundred metres from the city centre however relied on public transport to shut the space, so she might run errands or meet up along with her husband. The bus price her $2.

“I all the time use the bus as a lot as I can. It might be a disgrace if it got here to an finish … I believe individuals will really feel misplaced with out it,” she mentioned.

The bus circled south-west Blenheim 4 instances a day – twice within the morning and twice within the afternoon – and handed by 17 stops.

Its driver cheered when Deakin flagged down the bus on Tuesday morning. She was the one passenger to board the morning loops.

The motive force, who labored for Ritchies, however didn’t need to be named, was not stunned the council had instructed scrapping the route.

“It is a quiet route. I drive it at 40kmh as a result of if I’m going the velocity restrict [50kmh], I get again to the beginning about 10 minutes too fast.”

A Ritchies bus driver is not surprised the route might be scrapped.

A Ritchies bus driver shouldn’t be stunned the route is likely to be scrapped.
Picture: CHLOE RANFORD / LDR

He thought the south-west bus had so few passengers as a result of the unique “Blenheim Bus”, which ran circuits north and south of the city, coated a lot of the city’s extra in style locations.

“It is a disgrace as a result of these providers created a bit of additional work for us [bus drivers] after the Covid-19 lockdown, which hit us exhausting.

“Now there is likely to be even much less work to share between us.”

Figures confirmed it price the council about $33.80 a passenger to run the south-west bus final summer time, in comparison with $5.50 a passenger to run the long-standing north and south bus loops.

This was estimated to leap to $51.70 a head if councillors agreed to maintain Blenheim’s south-west loop for an additional yr.

Councillors would determine the route’s destiny on 13 Could. If the proposal was backed, the bus would run its final loop on 21 Could.

Councillors would additionally vote on whether or not to run return buses to Picton and Renwick for 2 extra years, for $74,000, offered Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Affiliation funded half.

If authorized, the Blenheim to Renwick service could be reduce from two journeys every weekday to only journeys on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The Blenheim to Picton bus would proceed to run two return journeys on Tuesdays and Thursday throughout off-peak hours.

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