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Published: 2013-12-03 00:00:00

Fares on the Northern Connector and Pukekohe bus services will be adjusted next year to bring them in line with other regional routes.

The annual review of fares for the region’s public transport network was considered by the Waikato Regional Council in its meeting last Thursday. 

The council decided against an across-the-board fare increase on its bus services, instead agreeing to adjust fares on three regional services in the New Year, including on the Northern Connector and Pukekohe routes. 

The council heard that passengers on Huntly’s Northern Connector, the Pukekohe and Taupo Connector bus services paid the lowest fares for the number of kilometres travelled. 

A five per cent fare increase for people travelling on the Northern Connector and Pukekohe services outside the Hamilton city urban limits was supported by the council, effective from 1 January 2014, to bring cost consistency across all the region’s services. 

“These price adjustments are necessary to ensure continued funding support from the NZ Transport Agency and to keep regional farebox recovery targets on track,” said council chairperson, Paula Southgate. 

Recent improvements have been introduced on the Northern Connector to improve its reliability, and the service now operates seven days a week. 

The adult cash fare on the Northern Connector between Hamilton and Huntly will rise 30 cents to $6.30, and the adult BUSIT card fare will rise by 20 cents to $4.40. A child’s cash fare will go up 20 cents to $3.20 and the BUSIT card fare will rise by 10 cents to $2.30 respectively. 

Fares for passengers travelling on the Northern Connector between the transport centre and The Base will not be affected. 

Adults on the Pukekohe service, which operates every two weeks on a Thursday, will pay up to 70 cents more, while the child fare will rise by up to 40 cents. 

The cost of operating Waikato’s buses is partly covered by fares. The rest is split equally between the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and the regional or district councils. 

The NZTA has set farebox recovery targets of 36 per cent by 2014 and 40 per cent by 2017 for the Waikato, with regular fare increases over the past three years helping the regional council to meet the 2014 Government target.