Two new bus routes through Richmond will help to get the town moving, thanks to the efforts of Tasman District Council staff.
In 2017 the Tasman District Council began looking into possible bus routes to expand the already existing Richmond – Nelson service. A Richmond bus loop was determined to be the most feasible option.
The council has approved a budget, with partial NZTA funding, for a four-year trial.
There will be two routes for the bus loop, an eastern route and a western loop.
The eastern loop will largely serve the northern and eastern parts of Richmond, with the western loop covering the southern and western areas of Richmond.
The eastern loop would have key stops along Washbourn Drive, Chelsea Avenue, Hill Street, Champion Road and Salisbury Road, while the western loop would have stops along Lower Queen Street, Berryfield Drive, Gladstone Road, Bateup Road and Wensley Road.
Tasman District Councillor Dana Wensley says that the two new bus loops are a huge step for Richmond.
“This is really the first piece in our transport puzzle. As Richmond grows, we will have to change the way we move around. That includes more bus services, and better options for walking and cycling.”
Dana says that congestion has been one of the key issues facing Richmond residents, and was a major concern in last year’s local body elections.
The proposed bus loops would take between 15 and 25 minutes to complete and would be timed to arrive five minutes prior to the bus services departing to Nelson in the morning and depart 5 minutes after Nelson services arrive in the afternoon.
At this stage, council staff are working towards a start date in June 2020, with the aim of coordinating the start date with implementing a new electronic ticketing system.
The total cost of the service is estimated at $200,000 a year, with bus fares making up 50 per cent of the funding, $51,000 coming from the New Zealand Transport Agency, and the remaining $49,000 coming from the council.
One of the key considerations for planning the proposed routes was passing near retirement villages, as well as ensuring that travel times complement the Richmond-Nelson service.
Dana says that the new service also aligns with the council’s obligations under the local government climate change declaration.
“It’s the council’s role to show leadership, to step up and supply more active transport services,” she says.