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Published: 2008-09-12 00:00:00

Sunday buses will soon roll out in Hamilton and city residents are being offered a chance to trial them free.

New Sunday services – as well as new public holiday services, increases to Orbiter operating hours and having the Orbiter travel through the Hospital campus – begin 28 September. These changes have been made to help meet and further expand booming bus use in the city.

To celebrate the new services – and give people a chance to familiarise themselves with the key routes involved - bus travel will be free on Sunday 28 September.

Feedback from Hamilton residents has been the foundation for the changes. The annual bus user satisfaction survey, the long term council community plan consultation process and submissions on the draft Regional Passenger Transport Plan submissions all identified that the public felt Sunday services are necessary. A major reason is because of the need to travel to work on weekends.

The Sunday and public holiday services will run on 12 key routes and these include the Orbiter, Pukete, Silverdale, Dinsdale, Glenview, Nawton, Fairfield, University, Rototuna, Hamilton East Uni and Te Rapa services. The Sunday services will operate on the Saturday timetable, which is hourly. "Key route" flags will be used to mark routes on relevant timetables, on the Environment Waikato website and on all promotional material.

Under the changes, the Orbiter will operate from 6.15am until 10pm on weekdays and 6.15am to 8pm on weekends. These changes have been particularly welcomed by hospital and The Base employees, whose hours of work have previously made bussing to work impossible.

EW’s transport operations manager Bevan Dale said it is satisfying to be able to implement new services and initiatives based on public feedback.

"The past year has seen huge growth in passenger trip numbers. We’re confident these new services – which follow the recent introduction of new direct buses - will offer cheaper and more environmentally friendly transport options for a growing Hamilton.

"We encourage people to get onboard and take a free ride to see for themselves the growing benefits of bus travel in our city," said Mr Dale.