Stoke OnDemand service to end

The eBus service has made a great start to 2024 with a record-breaking month in March helping the service grow to more than a quarter of a million journeys in the first quarter.

While patronage for the overall eBus service has been very strong, this has not carried over to the OnDemand service in Stoke, resulting in a Council decision to bring this part of the service to an end. 

Nelson Mayor Nick Smith said March was the biggest month, with 91,687 journeys, since the eBus launch in August 2023 and 27 February had a record 4061 journeys in a day.

The decision to end the OnDemand service was taken once patronage fell to financially unsustainable levels.   

Stoke Loop was introduced in 2015 but was suspended in June 2017 due to low patronage. The loop was altered and reintroduced in 2018 and averaged 193 journeys a month when it was replaced by OnDemand.  

OnDemand began with promise, experiencing 142 journeys in the first month, but patronage declined from September and was down to just 48 in February and 52 in March. 

Mayor Nick says the Stoke OnDemand service usage is so low – at only 12 journeys per week – and the cost so high – $215 per journey – that it is not viable." 

“Nelson City Council decided on 4 April, on the recommendation of the Joint Nelson Tasman Regional Transport Committee (RTC), to end the service on 30 April. The decision was made in confidential business to enable the contract providers to be informed prior to the information being made public. At the previous RTC meeting, we also decided to extend free eBus travel to 2000 local Total Mobility Card holders.  

“The OnDemand service has not worked because the new eBus route along Nayland Road has met much of the need and local retirement villages have good courtesy coaches. We are also finding that people with mobility issues are using taxis under the Council’s Total Mobility scheme, which provides a 75% subsidy and a door-to-door service. 

“The key reason for ending the Stoke OnDemand service is that the $215-cost-per-passenger journey is poor use of ratepayer and taxpayer money. We are only recovering an average of $1.50 from passenger fares, leaving a subsidy of $213.50 per passenger journey. We could fly people to Wellington and back for less. The cost equates to more than $100 per kilometre when taxis cost just $3/km. It would be financially irresponsible to continue with this service at this cost, particularly during a cost-of-living crisis and when rates are under so much pressure,” Mayor Nick says. 

The OnDemand service will end on 30 April.

The eBus OnDemand service operates within defined operating areas.

You book your ride on eBus OnDemand using the 'eBus OnDemand' mobile app or by calling Nelson City Council’s customer service centre on 03 546 0200.

You request your pick-up and drop-off points when making your booking, but a short walk (an average of 100 metres) is required to complete most trips.

You can make a booking up to a week in advance. Or on-demand before you ride.

Track your ride in real-time to your pick-up location through our easy-to-use app. We even send you a text when we are on the way so you can be ready when we arrive.
The app will show your pick-up address and your drop-off destination.

The service is run using vans instead of large buses. Passengers with a wheelchair or a disability will always be matched with a fully accessible vehicle.

eBus OnDemand is a rideshare service. That means eBus OnDemand users heading in the same direction may also be picked up and share the ride with you. Sometimes that may mean you are the only person in the vehicle, and at other times it could be full. It does mean you are expected to meet the vehicle when it arrives, so you don't hold up a ride for others. Our drivers can only wait a few minutes before they must head to their next pickup.

All our friendly drivers are eBus OnDemand trained and have completed comprehensive background checks. If you need extra assistance, they will be happy to help. eBus OnDemand is operated by Nelson City Council.

eBus OnDemand App

To find the app on the Apple or Google Play app store search: ‘eBus OnDemand’. When you download the app you will be able to set up an account, but you wont be able to request a bus until August 1.

People who do not have access to a mobile phone will be able to order a bus by calling Nelson City Council Customer Service team on 03 546 0200.

Here’s how the service works:

  1. Passengers request a bus using the app or by calling the number above.
  2. The service runs Monday to Friday, 9am – 3pm
  3. The app will show you how far away your bus is and when and where to meet it.
  4. Meeting places are dotted throughout Stoke so you should never be more than a short walk from where you meet the bus.
  5. Passengers who have ordered a bus by calling Council will be told when and where to meet the bus and have a text message sent to their phone when it is about to arrive.
  6. Try to be on time – the bus can only wait for a couple of minutes.
  7. Pay for the bus using Bee Card or cash as usual. 
  8. Remember, this is a bus ride-sharing service and the bus doesn't travel on a set route. It will take the most efficient route to your destination based on the destinations of other passengers and yourself.

Extent of Stoke OnDemand

23866 NCC Stoke OnDemand Map Jun23 HR