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Published: 2017-04-11 09:00:00

A new wave of regional bus services coming in this month, involving 12 brand new vehicles, will bring better services to Raglan in the west, Ngāruawāhia and Huntly to the north, and Morrinsville, Paeroa and Te Aroha in the east.

The new buses, to be operated by Go Bus under a new contract with Waikato Regional Council, will be fully air-conditioned, and have free Wi-Fi, USB charging points, bike racks and increased luggage space. All buses will also have CCTV for added security.

“It’s great to be able to offer these improved services after our work with local communities and councils, the NZ Transport Agency and Go Bus,” said the regional council’s public transport operations manager, Andrew Wilson.

“The fleet and service changes are part of our ongoing drive to try to improve the public transport service offering in the region. We’re confident passengers will really appreciate the improved services, which are funded by the regional council and local councils, and Transport Agency.”

The Transport Agency’s Waikato and Bay of Plenty regional director, Parekawhia McLean said: “We are excited to have worked with our partners at the councils to bring a new level of service to the people in these towns.

“We would also like to congratulate Go Bus for coming up with a solution for public transport users that not only shows value for money but also gives these communities a high quality transport option.”

The Raglan improvements are being made after consultation with the Raglan Community Board. The new services there involve brand new, larger silver and blue buses which will be used on the current Raglan, Raglan Assist and Whatawhata routes.

The timetable will also be improved, with Sunday and public holiday services and an extra return service in the middle of week days. The new middle of the day service will leave Raglan at 9.30am and return at 12.15pm.

The Sunday and public holiday services will be at the same times as the Saturday timetable.

The larger buses will also operate on the Hamilton-Ngāruawāhia-Huntly run.

There will be no changes to the current seven-days-a-week timetable or the route for the services.

Waikato District Council’s general manager service delivery Tim Harty said: “Waikato District Council welcomes the new and improved service offered by Go Bus. Public transport is becoming increasingly important to our communities as the district grows, and it’s great to see this recognised by a service with modern facilities and greater capacity to transport more people.”

Meanwhile, the buses are also being introduced on Morrinsville, Paeroa and Te Aroha services. The contracts also provide for the introduction of new Morrinsville-Hamilton return services on weekends and public holidays.

Also, Go Bus will continue to operate one return trip between Paeroa and Hamilton (via Te Aroha) every weekday.

It’s possible the new weekend Morrinsville-Hamilton services at weekends and holidays may go as far as Raglan in the future.

Go Bus said it was delighted to have been awarded the contract to operate buses between Hamilton and Raglan, Huntly and Morrinsville.

“Having operated services in the region for a number of years we’ve got to know the community well and our drivers will be especially happy to  have the opportunity to continue getting people to and from these iconic Waikato towns,” Go Bus managing director Calum Haslop said.

“We are also pleased to be introducing brand new EURO 5 low emission buses to the routes, which are equipped with not only USB charging ports, free Wi-Fi and cycle racks, but also coach style seating and a five camera CCTV system for added passenger safety.”