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Rotorua’s Cityride hits the spot

20 September 2004

Rotorua’s Cityride hits the spot and Tauranga buses to be given a boost

For immediate release: Friday 17 September 2004 Rotorua’s new-style urban bus service seems to have “hit the spot” with local residents.

Environment Bay of Plenty, which started up the Cityride service on July 1, says passenger numbers have soared over the past two months – possibly doubling in size. A report to this week’s regional development committee meeting has highlighted the initial success of the service, with its growing fleet of new green buses, its 30-minute service and more direct routes.

“We very happy with the way it’s going and with how quickly people have started to use it. It’s exceeding our expectations,” says committee chairman Athole Herbert.

The report estimates bus use in August was nearly twice that of patronage in the months before the changes, when the service carried about 13,000 to 14,000 passengers a month. Transport policy manager Garry Maloney says it’s still too early to tell if this will last. “However, intuitively, it appears as if the new service is going to be very successful,” he says.

Already, it has almost reached the targets set by Transfund New Zealand to justify funding it.

Mr Maloney says Environment Bay of Plenty will soon be setting a permanent rate for its passenger fares. “Both drivers and bus users seem to prefer a flat rate, which means passengers can travel part or all of a route for the one price. It’s easier for everyone. So it looks like we’ll be keeping that aspect of it.”

New rates are likely to be $2 for an adult fare and $1.50 for a concession fare, with a 30% discount for people using an electronic Smartcard. Most buses will have electronic ticketing installed by the end of the year.

All bus users are currently paying a special introductory flat-rate fare of $1.50.

Commuter Service Trial from Rotorua to Tauranga

Environment Bay of Plenty wants to trial a bus run for Rotorua people working in Te Puke and Tauranga. It will be called the Twin City Express. Starting before Christmas, it will leave Rotorua every weekday morning, at a time calculated to reach Tauranga’s central business district by 7.50am. It will depart from Tauranga at 5.10pm.

As a positive spin-off, the new trip will ensure Okere Falls has a twice-daily link up with Rotorua, with the bus stopping there on its return from Tauranga in the morning and again when it leaves Rotorua in the afternoon.

A boost for Bay Hopper

Tauranga’s Bay Hopper bus service will soon be given another boost. Environment Bay of Plenty, which manages it, plans to introduce a lunchtime service and to extend the last run of the day to after 6pm.

It’s also turning the popular Tauranga to Bayfair from an hourly to a 30-minute service. Transport policy manager Garry Maloney says, with other changes to the timetable, this should help buses to keep on schedule. “At the moment, they have problems keeping to the timetable. Ironically, it’s partly because of the service’s success, because more people have to get on and off. But it’s also because there is so much traffic around Tauranga.”

ENDS

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