After more than 15 years without a regular public bus service, the people of Mangakino and Whakamaru will now have the chance to make use of a three-day a week service to the next major town, Tokoroa – thanks to a new service opening today.
“We’re really excited about the new bus service,” says Kirsty Trueman, the coordinator of the Mangakino Stronger Communities Action Fund, which helped lobby for the resumption of public transport to the town.
“As a small rural town distant from major population centres, many people in Mangakino have felt isolated without regular public transport for more than a decade. It has been particularly hard for the elderly, who need to access hospital services, and the young who do not have cars.”
Kirsty says that the community is delighted that four funding bodies – Environment Waikato, the Lakes District Health Board, Tokoroa Local Management Group, and the Taupo District Council – have jointly got together to fund the resumption of bus services on a two-year pilot basis.
“We’re planning a great welcome for the new bus,” she says.” The kohanga reo kids are going to be singing ‘The wheels on the bus go round and round’ in Maori, and the local Area School is also planning to put on a special welcome. In addition to the Mayor of Taupo District Council and other dignitaries, we’re hoping to get the local man, George Stainton, who used to drive the NZ Railways bus over 15 years ago to come and officially open the new service.”
The bus service will run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from Mangakino to Tokoroa at 9.30 am, and return at 2 pm. On Thursdays only, the bus service will also be extended to include Atiamuri, provided pick-ups have been booked in advance.
In line with the aim of improving access to medical facilities, the bus will give priority to those with medical appointments in Tokoroa, or those with mobility issues.
Fares have been kept at an affordable level, with the Bus-it! concession card offering free return-trip travel for children under five, $2 for students and seniors, and $3.50 for adults, with slightly higher fares for those paying by cash.
For more information contact:
Mangakino Stronger Communities Action Fund
For bookings, contact
The Mangakino Community Agency