The Huntly bus is one of the region’s most popular routes and from next month it will connect people with Hamilton’s CBD seven days a week.
The renamed Northern Connector service launches on the first day of the fourth school term, Monday 14 October, and will also replace Hamilton’s City Express.
Passengers are urged to check the Northern Connector timetable online at www.busit.co.nz prior to the service beginning as times have changed. Printed timetables will be available on the bus and from the transport centre next week.
“We’re excited to be announcing changes which will better cater for workers and shoppers travelling from Huntly and Ngaruawahia to Hamilton’s CBD and The Base,” said Waikato Regional Council’s land transport operations service delivery manager Ben Barlow.
“We’ve listened to feedback from our passengers and have been working hard with the bus operator, Pavlovich, to come up with a solution to peak time reliability and capacity issues on the Huntly route.”
Mr Barlow said two extra services will operate from Ngaruawahia to Hamilton in the weekday morning peak, creating more seats for commuters.
“The Northern Connector will also provide passengers with increased frequency on Saturdays and we’re introducing a service on Sundays,” he said.
The current Friday evening services on the Huntly bus will be replaced with Thursday evening services.
Tim Harty, Waikato District Council’s general manager service delivery said, “The improved bus service between Huntly and Hamilton is a great example of how Waikato District Council’s partnership with Waikato Regional Council continues to meet the needs of our growing community.
“It delivers what our ratepayers have requested for some time, the provision of an efficient and easily-accessible transport service between the two centres.
“Based on the feedback we’ve received already, I’m confident the improved service will be well utilised by a large section of our community.”
Patronage on the Huntly bus route has continued to grow and in the last financial year the six-day-a-week service carried more than 200,000 passenger trips, making it one of the region’s most popular routes.
The last City Express bus will operate on Saturday 12 October. The Northern Connector will follow the route of the Huntly bus, which means the stops at the northern end of Victoria Street by Fairfield Bridge and The Boulevard will no longer be served.
The Northern Connector service is part-funded by fares, with 50 per cent of the shortfall paid by the NZ Transport Agency and the remaining covered by Waikato Regional Council and Waikato District Council rates.