Ur­ban bus ser­vice will con­tinue

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

The Ur­ban Con­nec­tor bus ser­vice looks set to con­tinue, for now at least.

South Waikato District Coun­cil Ex­ec­u­tive Group com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Sina Tolo­vae said fund­ing from the New Zealand Trans­port Agency (NZTA) has en­sured the pub­lic trans­port ser­vice, ini­tially a six month trial, will con­tinue on a per­ma­nent ba­sis for at least the next year.

‘‘If the Ur­ban con­tin­ues to be well utilised it is the coun­cil’s hope that the ser­vice will ex­tend beyond this,’’ she said.

The coun­cil in­tro­duced the ser­vice af­ter a need for pub­lic trans­port was high­lighted dur­ing the 2014-15 An­nual Plan and Eco­nomic and Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment five mil­lion dol­lar project con­sul­ta­tion pro­cesses.

Tolo­vae said the coun­cil pro­vided $200,000 to fund the es­tab­lish­ment of a trial ser­vice which be­gan in June 2015.

‘‘The ser­vice started out with a district cir­cuit in the morn­ing and af­ter­noon from Toko­roa, Putaruru, and Ti­rau and back (the District Cir­cuit), as well as three Toko­roa ur­ban cir­cuits (the Toko­roa Cir­cuit),’’ she said.

‘‘The pri­mary driver in the early stages was to help get res­i­dents to the newly con­sol­i­dated South Waikato Health Cen­tre in Marae­tai Rd in Toko­roa.

‘‘How­ever, just six weeks into the trial, the coun­cil and steer­ing com­mit­tee quickly re­alised more users were in­ter­ested in get­ting to and from the Toko­roa cen­tral busi­ness district.’’

‘‘We in­tro­duced a num­ber of changes such as dou­bling the num­ber of cir­cuits around Toko­roa to six, in­tro­duc­ing new stops along the cir­cuit, and mak­ing the Toko­roa I-SITE the home base.’’

She said along the way sev­eral other changes have been in­tro­duced in­clud­ing new stops on the District Cir­cuit in Putaruru and Lich­field, and a tem­po­rary stu­dent ser­vice.

‘‘Coun­cil, along with part­ners Go Bus and the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil mon­i­tor the ser­vice and in De­cem­ber 2015 the de­ci­sion was made to con­tinue the trial to gather more ro­bust data to sup­ple­ment our busi­ness case to the NZTA to carry the ser­vice through to a per­ma­nent one for the district,’’ she said.

Tolo­vae said re­main­ing fund­ing from the ini­tial $200,000 is be­ing used to es­tab­lish a pub­lic trans­port ser­vice that will help res­i­dents get to and from needed health care out­side the district. The ur­ban con­nec­tor has proved pop­u­lar and the data has helped se­cure con­tin­ued fund­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to those fig­ures the most pop­u­lar spot to get on and off the bus is the Toko­roa I-site. *I-site *New World su­per­mar­ket * Tainui St * O’sul­li­van Dr * Health Cen­tre (Toko­roa Hospi­tal)

**East Park­dale (west) * Pa­panui St (cen­tral) * Bil­lah (cen­tral) * Man­field. * Marae­tai/baber­ton

East Park­dale (west) * Marae­tai/baber­ton * Bil­lah (cen­tral) * New World su­per­mar­ket * Man­field

The Ur­ban Con­nec­tor bus ser­vice will con­tinue for at least another year in the South Waikato.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.