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Published: 2017-04-11 09:00:00

Bigger, better and brand new buses are being used for Morrinsville, Paeroa and Te Aroha services under new contracts kicking in this month.

The contracts also provide for the introduction of new Morrinsville-Hamilton return services on weekends and public holidays.

The Morrinsville, Paeroa and Te Aroha services will now be provided by Go Bus with new timetables beginning from 18 April.

Go Bus said it was delighted to have been awarded the contract to operate the new services.

“Having operated services in the region for a number of years we’ve got to know the community well and our drivers will be especially happy to  have the opportunity to continue getting people to and from these iconic Waikato towns,” said Go Bus managing director, Calum Haslop.

“We are also pleased to be introducing brand new EURO 5 low emission buses to the routes, which are equipped with not only USB charging ports, free Wi-Fi and cycle racks, but also coach style seating and a five camera CCTV system for added passenger safety.”

Waikato Regional Council’s public transport operations manager Andrew Wilson said: “The fleet and service changes are part of our ongoing drive to try to improve the public transport service offering in the region.”

In addition to the extra Morrinsville-Hamilton services, there will be two brand new buses that have the added benefit of being air-conditioned and are larger than existing vehicles. They have 49 seats and can carry up to 79 passengers in total.

Also, Go Bus will continue to operate one return trip between Paeroa and Hamilton (via Te Aroha) every weekday.

Money to operate the public service comes from a combination of passenger fares, rates funding from Waikato Regional Council, Matamata-Piako and Hauraki district councils, and the NZ Transport Agency.

Matamata-Piako’s mayor Jan Barnes said: “We’re keen to promote public transport in our area which historically has been highly dependent on the use of private vehicles.

”It’s great that our combined councils and NZTA have been able to offer measurable improvements to the service, and to market the region with local tourist attractions depicted on dedicated buses. We’re excited by the availability of Wi-Fi on the buses, and how that adds to the passenger experience. Having bike racks will be a bonus for commuters. Cyclists on the Hauraki Rail Trail could use buses for their return trip or to get to the Te Aroha-Matamata part of the trail, which is also being developed this year.”

Hauraki mayor John Tregidga said: “Travelling by bus is cost effective, great for the environment, and now it’s more comfortable in the Waikato region too. Staying connected is hugely important to the regions and this upgraded bus service, which includes free Wi-Fi, makes public transport a more enjoyable and efficient way to get from Hamilton to Hauraki. The vibrant graphics on the sides of the buses really showcase our region and why it’s such a great place to live and visit. A fantastic example of collaboration between councils and other agencies to achieve a great result.”                   

The Transport Agency’s Waikato and Bay of Plenty regional director, Parekawhia McLean said: “We are excited to have worked with our partners at the councils to bring a new level of service to the people in these towns.

“We would also like to congratulate Go Bus for coming up with a solution for public transport users that not only shows value for money but also gives these communities a high quality transport option.”