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Published: 2014-12-15 00:00:00

There’ll be more seats on this year’s Summer Shuttle bus service to get keen holidaymakers to their favourite Mercury Bay beach during the busy holiday season.

Waikato Regional Council and Thames-Coromandel District Council have teamed up to provide the shuttle service, which will operate from 27 December to 26 January, and over the Waitangi Day long weekend (6-8 February).

The decision to introduce a bigger, air conditioned vehicle follows a survey of passengers using the shuttle last year to travel between Hot Water Beach, Hahei, Cooks Beach and Ferry Landing.

The regional council’s public transport operations manager Ben Barlow said: “It was fantastic to get some really good feedback from people who hopped on the bus service over last summer.

“About 3000 people travelled on the bus during the month it operated, with 83 per cent of the passengers crossing from Whitianga and using the shuttle to go to the Mercury Bay beaches,” he said.

“Hot Water and Hahei beaches were the most popular with people, with 84 per cent of them New Zealanders visiting the peninsula.”

One way Summer Shuttle bus fares are: $3 adults, $2 children, $7 families (up to two adults and two children).

Meanwhile, park and ride services remained extremely popular last summer too, carrying about 20,000 people up the hill from Hahei to the start of the Cathedral Cove walking track.

The regional council and TCDC have joined with the Mercury Bay Community Board to again provide the park and ride service over December and January, as well as during the Waitangi Day long weekend.

Mercury Bay Community Board chairperson Paul Kelly said: “We're so pleased to be working with the regional council to provide the shuttle this year. We realise we need to look at how we manage the growing number of visitors within this area and that traffic and parking need managing.”

The service helps to ease traffic congestion and parking hassles for Cathedral Cove visitors, as well as improving the safety for pedestrians and other road users.

It will operate three times an hour between 10am and 6pm. Return park and ride shuttle fares are: $3 adults, $2 children, $7 families. 

For more information on the services, including detailed timetables, visit www.busit.co.nz or call 0800 4 BUSLINE (0800 4 2875463).