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Published: 2017-02-13 09:00:00

There will be extra public bus services between Raglan and Hamilton from April, with residents now getting their chance to influence the final route and timetable.

A survey is online at www.busit.co.nz/raglan, with hard copies available on the bus, at the transport centre in Hamilton, and the Raglan iSITE and library.

Waikato Regional Council has just signed a new nine-year contract with Go Bus for the Raglan service following a competitive tender process.

Under the new contract, the number of weekday trips between Raglan and Hamilton will increase from four to five, and the existing Saturday timetable will be extended to Sundays and public holidays (excluding Christmas Day).

The regional council’s chief financial officer, Mike Garrett, said: “It’s exciting to be providing a cost effective and better service to our passengers and ratepayers.

“As well as more bus trips, our passengers will get other benefits too. The new buses will have free Wi-Fi and USB chargers on board, there’ll be exterior bike racks and interior surfboard racks, as well as comprehensive CCTV systems,” Mr Garrett said.

Money to operate the Raglan service comes from a combination of passenger fares, rates funding from Waikato Regional Council and Waikato District Council, and the NZ Transport Agency.

Waikato District Council general manager service delivery, Tim Harty said: “Providing additional bus services to Raglan is an important step in ensuring this part of the Waikato district has better access to employment, education and the increasing demand of visitors to the town. Waikato District Council is proud to be supporting such a service to its community.”

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 council to bring a new level of service to the Raglan community.

“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.”

Go Bus’s Managing Director, Calum Haslop, said: “Go Bus is delighted to have been awarded the contract to operate buses between Hamilton and Raglan. Having operated this service 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 this iconic Waikato town,” Mr Haslop said.

“We are also pleased to be introducing brand new EURO 5 low emission buses to the route, 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.”