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Published: 2006-07-13 00:00:00

Hamilton public transport takes a giant leap forward next Monday with the launch of the new Orbiter bus service, which celebrates its first week by running free from 17–22 July.

“The Orbiter will take Hamilton’s public transport system to a whole new level,” said Environment Waikato’s regional land transport committee chairman Angus Macdonald.

“It’s based on a successful Christchurch model but will be the only service of its kind operating in the North Island.”

Up until now, Hamilton’s bus system has been largely based on a wagon-wheel model, with most routes leading to the Transport Centre in the CBD. This meant people travelling between suburbs were forced to go into town to change buses.

The Orbiter is different – it loops around the outside of the city without going into the CBD, providing quick and easy travel around the suburbs.

Hamilton City Council transport committee chairman Dave Macpherson said the new service would give passengers more choice and for many, would eliminate the need to change buses.

“It’s vital that our public transport systems keep pace with Hamilton’s rapid population growth and the Orbiter demonstrates both councils’ commitment to addressing this issue proactively.”

The Orbiter connects five key destinations – the Base, Chartwell, Waikato University, the hospital and Dinsdale, servicing all stops in between. It will run in both directions every 15 minutes from 7am–6pm Monday to Friday and every half hour from 9am–4pm on Saturdays.

The 12 new Orbiter buses will be painted in striking silver and purple and all Orbiter stops will follow the same colour scheme, making them easy to identify. Additionally, the Orbiter will service all marked bus stops on route. RealTime units, which display arrival times electronically, will be operating at key stops, so passengers know exactly when the next bus is due to arrive.

Standard Hamilton city bus fares apply – $2 for adults (or $1.40 with a Busit! card) and $1 for children (or 70c with a Busit! card).

A new, permanent bus fare innovation coincides with the Orbiter’s introduction. Any single ticket purchased on any city bus will automatically entitle the customer to two hours’ worth of unlimited free transfers onto any other Hamilton bus. This will allow easy transfer onto and off the Orbiter.

For Orbiter timetables, route information and other enquiries about the new service, visit, call 0800 4 BUSLINE or drop into the Transport Centre on Anglesea St.