The feels on the bus
Posted on 20 July 2023
- 3 Minutes to read
There’s few people better informed about Nelson’s new eBus service than local enthusiast Ryan Turner-Maxwell.
But Ryan has more strings to his bow than public transport, as he explains to Our Nelson during an early ride on a new eBus from Nelson City Centre, to Stoke, via Rocks Road.
“I’ve played basketball at the Special Olympics New Zealand tournament in Hamilton, work nights at Countdown, run the Nelson Tasman Trucking page and my own YouTube channel and do courses at NMIT,” he says.
Equipped with his digital camera and mobile phone, Ryan joined the Our Nelson team to make a video about the new eBus service.
As a 19 year old, a single bus fare within one zone will cost $1 for Ryan. From August 1, he will be able to go as far as Motueka for as little as $3.
“Out of the new routes to places like Wakefield, Brightwater, Motueka and Māpua, I’m looking forward to getting out to Motueka. Just take the bus there and go for a walk somewhere I haven’t been able to go on my own before.”
Our Route 2 journey to Stoke via Bishopdale sets off at 10.30am at the temporary bus stop on Haven Road. The bus is currently leaving from here while the SBL site at Bridge Street is upgraded. Once complete, there will be room for five buses to pull up rather than two, a vital change for the new more regular service to work effectively. The SBL office is being converted into a new waiting room, a bright safe place for people to wait for the bus with more indoor seating and CCTV.
Three bus facts from Ryan:
"The bus uses a lithium iron phosphate battery. I know some people have been worried about bus fires, but this sort of battery is more stable than other EV batteries."
“The buses can go 400km before they need charging, which happens overnight at the new Richmond depot."
“The buses are emission free, which will help with climate change."
As we leave the City Centre, the first thing we notice, after tapping our Bee Cards to make sure we get the cheapest fare, is how smooth and quiet the ride is. When parked or travelling at low speeds the new eBus makes a similar amount of noise to a modern SUV, but there’s no doubt that the experience inside the bus is quieter and less bumpy.
"It’s certainly quieter inside than the Scania bus,” says Ryan.
We arrive in Stoke at 10.45am and walk down to the Stoke Youth Park. This is close to where the new Stoke Interchange will be placed. Allowing people on Routes 1 and 2 or the OnDemand service to change buses. Armed with a basketball, we go to shoot some hoops and grab a coffee at the Youth Park.
Stoke is possibly facing the biggest changes across the network from August 1, and the new interchange is central to this. The Route 2 bus will head left at Putaitai Street so it can serve the huge residential catchment and schools near Nayland Road, before heading to Tāhunanui and Nelson City Centre.
Loop bus users will benefit from a new OnDemand service, which covers a much wider area than the current service and be ordered via app or by calling Council’s customer service on 03 546 0200.
After Ryan completely takes Our Nelson apart at the hoop, we make our way back to Nelson via Route 2.
After making its way through Stoke, the bus eventually hits Rocks Road and we are greeted with a panoramic view of Tāhunanui Beach and Tasman Bay.
"You can't really beat this view from the bus," says Ryan. "This is now the most peaceful bus journey in Nelson."