Extra bus services are being introduced in north Hamilton from early next month, Waikato Regional Council has announced.
The increases in Flagstaff, Huntington and Rototuna, from 4 January, are a direct response to residents’ feedback and are being brought in earlier than originally planned.
“We are working hard to provide new travel options for residents in the area as soon as possible,” said public transport operations manager Andrew Wilson.
“At the beginning of 2016 we introduced service improvements for the Flagstaff and Rototuna areas. The improvements were limited to peak weekday travel periods only and do not operate during the middle of the day on weekdays or at all on weekends.
“Despite being limited, the improvements have resulted in strong passenger growth of 23 per cent year on year on the Rototuna Direct services, with around 6,500 passengers carried each month, and more than 1,400 passengers travelling monthly on the new 4N Flagstaff North service. The improvements have also resulted in requests for bus services to be provided throughout the day and on weekends.”
The changes mean the Rototuna Direct West (RDW) and Rototuna Direct East (RDE) routes will now have more services throughout weekdays, and will also see the introduction of weekend services. The 4N Flagstaff North service will also have more services during weekdays.
Meanwhile, Huntington residents will get more transport options, with the 30 Northerner route incorporated into the Rototuna Direct services.
In order to help fund the service improvements, the 8 Frankton route will see a slight reduction in service frequency from January. The service will reduce from a bus every 20 minutes to a bus every 30 minutes on weekdays.
“We’re planning further improvements for the north Hamilton area, and we’d like to hear what passengers want to see for public transport in the future,” said Mr Wilson.
People can fill out an online survey at http://busit.co.nz/NorthernSuburbs/ or keep an eye out for information sessions next year.
Details of the changes include:
- The RDW route will have five additional bus services throughout the middle of weekdays. Services will travel from Rototuna to Chartwell only, via Huntington (incorporating the current 30 Northerner service). Passengers wanting to travel through to town can transfer free (within an hour of getting on the first bus) at Chartwell. An additional evening service will be added to the timetable – 6.25pm from town. A new weekend timetable will be added with eight return trips to Chartwell between 8am and 6.30pm.
- The RDE service will have four additional bus services put on throughout the middle of weekdays. They will travel from Rototuna to Chartwell only, and services from Chartwell will travel to Rototuna via Huntington (incorporating the current 30 Northerner service). Passengers wanting to travel through to town in the middle of the day can transfer free (within an hour of getting on the first bus) at Chartwell. An additional evening service will be added to the timetable – 6.15pm from town. A new weekend timetable will be added with seven return trips to Chartwell between 7.20am and 6pm.
- The 4N Flagstaff North service will gain an additional six return trips in the middle of weekdays, and one additional evening service, providing increased access to Rototuna and Chartwell for Flagstaff residents.
- The 30 Northerner service will be incorporated into the RDE and RDW bus routes. Huntington residents will benefit from more service in their area (9 services instead of 5 currently), and some travel directly to Rototuna – rather than having to travel to Chartwell first.
- The council noted that because the RDE and RDW will travel a different route around the Callum Brae/Thomas Road area there are some stops that will no longer be served by buses, including:
- 68 Rototuna Road
- 13 Caversham Drive
- Caversham Drive (opposite Waipuna Place)
- The RDE and RDW buses will also travel a different route around Huntington. Bus stops on Palliser Drive will be removed and the buses will use Huntington Drive only.
- The 8 Frankton route will change from a 20 minute service frequency to a 30 minute frequency on weekdays.