Transport system up and running
History has been made as the first South Waikato public districtwide transport system hit the road this week.
The 22-passenger Urban Connector bus began its six month trial on June 22 which has provided South Waikato residents with several public transport options Monday to Friday each week.
The service includes a circuit around Tokoroa three times a day and a district route from Tokoroa to Tirau return twice a day.
With bus stops erected around
There are a few things that Andrea Mason hasn’t done on horseback, but riding 100 miles ( 160km) on rugged, steep, Australian terrain is no longer one of them.
The 57-year-old Tokoroa horse rider has just returned from Syd- the district, the route around Tokoroa will range from no charge to $2 while the district route will be between $1.50 and $8.
Several months of planning has gone into it by the South Waikato Public Transport Steering Group with a $ 200,000 start- up fund from the South Waikato District Council.
Steering group chairwoman Akarere Henry was stoked. ‘‘To say we’re particularly pleased is an understatement.
‘‘It really has been a strong collaboration.’’
The aim of the service is to ‘‘fill in the gaps’’, she said.
‘‘Currently a number of individual organisations and groups provide transportation in and around the district for their own specific needs.
‘‘Some transport solutions are provided on an ad hoc basis, some with regular inter regional services, some funded by health authorities, supplemented by volunteer and community groups, and all attempting to satisfy demand.’’
And while the initial focus was on transportation for medical appointments, Henry said it appeared it would be just as effective for other needs.
She’s already heard of one Tokoroa grandmother with limited access to a car who would now be able to visit her greatgrandchildren across town.
‘‘That really warmed my heart,’’ Henry said.
Now that the service has gained traction, it’s all about raising awareness over the next few months.
‘‘At this stage, we just want to saturate as much of the community to know about the service.’’
At four months in, the trial will be reviewed and a decision will be made whether to extend it to the full six months, council deputy chief executive Ben Smit said.
‘‘It is important that the community understands this is a trial, if the numbers don’t stack up, the service won’t continue.’’
Once the trial period is complete, the steering group will consider what changes are needed to meet the needs of the users.
If the measures of success are met during the trial, the council could extend this to become a permanent service with potential government assistance.
Information on all of the routes will be held at the Tokoroa and Tirau i-sites.
Andrea Mason’s love of
horse riding saw her conquer the Tom Quilty
Endurance Race in Australia, where she rode
100 miles one day.