The adoption of the Waikato Regional Public Transport Plan 2018-2018 (RPTP) will see the development of a Mass Transit Plan for Hamilton and neighbouring towns to ease congestion and improve travel times.
Waikato Regional Council yesterday adopted the RPTP, which sets the objectives and policies for public transport in the region for the next 10 years and was prepared in partnership with territorial authorities and key stakeholders from a wide range of sectors.
Hamilton Public Transport Joint Committee co-chair Russ Rimmington said parts of the Waikato region were growing rapidly and creating transport challenges, such as increasing congestion and travel times.
“Moving to a mass transit oriented network will allow for population growth and development but also help create more liveable urban areas and healthy environments by moving a lot more people using less space,” said Mr Rimmington. “Adding to our roading network isn’t practical or affordable in the long term.”
Mass transit start-up projects identified in the RPTP include a passenger rail service between Hamilton and Auckland (subject to NZTA funding), high capacity corridors within Hamilton for rapid and frequent services, and rapid and frequent services between Cambridge and Hamilton, Huntly and Hamilton and Te Awamutu and Hamilton.
The Mass Transit Plan will help guide the transition to a mass transit network, with significant infrastructure and service improvements over the next 10-20 years.
Other objectives in the RPTP include providing a fares and ticketing system that is easy to use and affordable to passengers, services that are affordable for passengers and funders, and developing and maintaining partnerships to get best value for money in delivering transport solutions.
“All these objectives are aimed at making public transport a number one choice in our region, to improve the vitality of our communities, strengthen the economy and create a healthier environment,” said Mr Rimmington.
Earlier this month, the council also voted to introduce an accessibility concession for people with a transport disability to travel free on all public transport services within Hamilton and that connect with Hamilton. It also supported the development of a business case for youth concessions to get children to school by bus rather than being dropped off by their parents.