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Published: 2010-09-29 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is introducing changes to Hamilton bus services to help make the network more efficient and cost effective.

Land transport operations manager Bevan Dale said the changes will be introduced from 1 October.

“EW has looked closely at the network and at where the demand for buses is.

“We are confident the changes won’t involve any significant inconvenience for passengers but we will be monitoring things closely to ensure the changes are not creating any problems.”

The changes involve:

  • The removal of some services for the first and/or last trips of the day
  • Changes and/or reductions to the number of trips on Friday nights
  • Limiting of distances travelled to save on kilometres (for example, the Nawton bus will not travel all the way out to Tasman Rd before 7am or after 6.15pm. The cemetery section of the Silverdale service will become an “on demand” section, meaning the bus will only do that leg of the journey when passengers want to go to the cemetery)
  • The Orbiter will finish an hour earlier at night.

“These changes are being made by EW taking into account patronage data and feedback from our bus drivers,” said Mr Dale.

“Any service changes that have been made are where the data has shown no one has been using the service. Hamilton residents have had over 12 months to prove to us that they will use these services so this decision has not been taken lightly

“The changes will help ensure all city services are running efficiently while still maintaining a high quality service.”

Meanwhile, the forthcoming rise in the rate of goods and services tax from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent means EW is having to introduce a small rise in Waikato region bus fares from 1 October.

Fares on Hamilton, Huntly, Raglan and Paeroa/Morrinsville services will all rise by 10 cents (the same amount as the lowest value coin).

“We are keeping rises to the minimum practical to ensure we cover the costs of the GST increase,” said Mr Dale.

At the same time as the general fare increases, child fares are going up by 30 cents a trip (as was previously announced). This is mostly to do with the need to increase child fares to help pay for the extra school bus services being provided by EW, while a smaller part of the rise is due to the GST increase. Child BusIt card fares will rise from $1.30 to $1.60 and cash fares will rise from $1.80 to $2.10.