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Published: 2002-02-25 00:00:00

Hamilton city’s bus service is expanding to include full Saturday services and late night buses – and a free bus day next month.

From Friday, March 1, the city will have late night buses running until three hours later on Friday nights – until 10.15pm into town and 10.45pm out – and until 7.45pm on Thursday nights.

And the following weekend everyone can try a bus for free on Free Bus Day on Saturday, March 9.

All city services run by Hamilton City Buses and Bayline will now run on Saturdays, allowing school children to get to sports meetings and other activities, shoppers to get into town, and city retail workers to get to and from work. Morning services begin at 7.50am and the last Saturday bus leaves town at 5.20pm. Previous Saturday services used to end by 3.15pm.

As well, there’s an extension to the Claudelands service to incorporate Porritt Stadium and the Chedworth area six days a week. This is the first bus service for Porritt Stadium and Chedworth.

A new route will service the expanding north-eastern subdivisions from Chartwell, and Frankton will have more frequent buses on off peak services running every 30 minutes, adding another 14 services.

Environment Waikato land transport manager Bevan Clement said the new services were made possible by funding agency Transfund New Zealand, which had approved ‘Kick-start’ funding towards a number of improvements in a project which is jointly funded by Environment Waikato.

“The changes reflect our changing lifestyles. People want to be able to shop and get to work on Saturdays, go into town for movies, pubs and restaurants and get to sports events. We hope it will reduce city congestion as people can leave their cars at home.

“Now people can go into town for a meal or a drink at night using public transport, and not worry about having to drive home. Our Saturdays are often spent in town, and there’s a large workforce needing public transport to work at a weekend,” he said.

In total there are 183 additional services across the city, including extra services to the city zoo and other attractions.

“The increase in services is about seven percent – about the same as our overall increase I patronage on buses.”