Whanganui bus shelters significantly upgraded after Horizons and Whanganui District Council collaboration

Horizons Regional Council and Whanganui District Council have successfully delivered nearly a decades’ worth of public transport infrastructure upgrades in a fraction of the time.

A collaboration between the two councils, the project secured $1.1 million from NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi in December 2022 through the Transport Choices programme and is part of a wider push to improve public transport in the city.
Horizons manager transport services Mark Read says the funding enabled significantly improved public transport facilities to be installed at a much faster rate than normal.
“Budgets usually only allow two new shelters per year in Whanganui. The funding we got from NZTA enabled us to make nine years’ worth of investment in the city, increasing shelter numbers by 60 percent.
“We know a lack of comfortable passenger facilities is a big barrier to public transport in Whanganui – it was frequently cited in the 2021 Whanganui Public Transport Survey – so it has been great to address this with 19 new and improved shelters.”
The investment also enabled the installation of tactile ground surface indicators to help people with vision impairments access buses, more real-time information displays at shelters, and improved bicycle and scooter parking, says Mr Read.
“These improvements have effectively made ‘urban transport hubs’ across the city. People can travel how they want to the hubs, leave their bikes and scooters there safely if required, then comfortably wait before catching the bus.
“These improvements come at a great time for Whanganui, with patronage on the city’s public transport services more than doubling since the introduction of Te Ngaru The Tide. The Transport Choices collaboration with Whanganui District Council should make it even better to enjoy more environmentally friendly transport options for people in the city.
“We will be monitoring bus patronship over the coming months to assess the impact of the new and improved bus shelters – but the numbers are already looking very encouraging.”
Whanganui District Council community property and places general manager Sarah O’Hagan says having new and upgraded bus passenger facilities through the Transport Choices programme is a brilliant result for the Whanganui community.
“Securing central government funding for this project, alongside the Streets for People funding, has been a game changer. The community told us a lack of passenger facilities was a big issue for would-be bus users, so to be able to address that, without placing much of a burden on our ratepayers, is a great result.
“With many people struggling with the costs of fuel and vehicle maintenance, providing quality public transport options is critical at the moment. So we’re stoked we’ve had the opportunity to make these improvements, in partnership with Horizons Regional Council and Waka Kotahi.”
For more information on the Transport Choices project, including a full list of locations for the upgraded bus shelters, visit horizons.govt.nz/buses-transport/whanganui-bus-stop-improvements.

Photo: One of the upgraded bus shelters in Whanganui, featuring artwork by Whanganui artist Claire Bell.