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Published: 2006-04-13 00:00:00

Hamilton City Council and Environment Waikato are counting down to the launch of their new jointly-funded CBD shuttle service.

The service will provide an easy way for shoppers and central city visitors to get around town without worrying about parking hassles – and it’s free.

“This is an exciting trial service and a positive move towards a greater choice of public transport for Hamilton people,” said Environment Waikato passenger transport spokesperson Paula Southgate.

The free service will begin operating on April 19 to coincide with the opening of the new 450-bay car park on Knox St. It will run from 7am-6pm Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Hamilton City Councillor and Transport Committee Deputy Chair Grant Thomas said the Knox St commuter car park and CBD shuttle were complementary services aimed to address the city’s wider transport issues.

“Council has launched a comprehensive programme of work under Access Hamilton to address issues of traffic congestion, transport alternatives and the accessibility of Hamilton’s CBD,” he said.

“The new Knox St commuter car park is a key project under Access Hamilton to supply improved parking provisions to commuters and ease traffic congestion within the CBD. The new car park and CBD shuttle service complement each other extremely well in fulfilling the Access Hamilton objectives and we are pleased to be working in conjunction with Environment Waikato to achieve this.”

Buses, painted in striking green and black, will leave every 10 minutes from the Knox St car park, travelling around the CBD in a one-way loop and servicing all stops along the way.

They will travel north up Victoria St through the heart of town, take a left into Liverpool St and then head south down Anglesea St. They will turn into Caro St and then travel down Alexandra St before returning to the car park.

RealTime GPS units installed along the shuttle route at Knox St car park, Victoria St (outside Les Mills) and Anglesea St (opposite the Transport Centre), will tell passengers exactly when the next bus is due to arrive.

Three buses make up the CBD shuttle fleet, two running on the new, clean Euro 3 diesel and the other on CNG, to allow emission and fuel-efficiency comparisons.

Hamilton Mayor Michael Redman will be the first passenger on the shuttle next Wednesday when he drives his vehicle to the Knox St car park and takes the bus to work.