Ashtonfield resident, high school teacher and east ward Labor candidate Ben Whiting wants the city’s bus stops upgraded.
Mr Whiting has thrown his hat into the ring for the September local government elections and believes providing shelters at bus stops would encourage more people to use public transport.
He believed the elderly, women with children and people with a disability needed seats and shelter at bus stops – like the one outside All Saints College, St Peter’s Campus in High Street, Maitland – to keep them out of the elements while they waited for the bus.
Mr Whiting said a bus stop on Chelmsford Drive, Metford, had only a bench seat on dirt and and no shelter, which he said would discourage many people from using public transport.
“A gentleman who was in a wheelchair highlighted a lot of what is needed for people at bus stops to me,” he said.
“My worry is that this is going to discourage people from making their journeys on public transport and connecting with the community.
“Given the population has grown and is going to continue to grow, we need to make sure we are diligent in the public transport we offer.”
Mr Whiting works as a learning support teacher at All Saints College, St Peter’s Campus and is passionate about services for people who need them.
His wish-list includes the installation of lifts at the Victoria Street railway station to make it easier for people with a disability, parents with prams and the elderly to access trains.
Mr Whiting, who grew up in Ashtonfield, said there were many issues that affected the city, one being the problem of traffic congestion.
But he said further planning should be postponed until the impact the Hunter Expressway, to be completed next year, had on the congestion of the New England Highway.
During his time at university Mr Whiting studied urban and economic geography, which showed him the impact good planning can have on residents’ wellbeing.
He joined the East Maitland Labor Party branch when he was 18 because the party’s focus was ensuring workers were given a fair go.