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Published: 2004-05-05 00:00:00

A new late-night bus service for Hamilton City has had a slow start.

Late-night buses are being trialled in the city for three-months with funding from Hamilton City Council. This week's Regional Passenger Transport Subcommittee heard that the service began on April 16 and on the first weekend 22 people used the service on Friday night and 35 on Saturday.

While the numbers were low there were some problems with access to the designated bus stop for the service and the city was fairly quiet, due to Easter and school holidays.

Three bus services operate - one to Claudelands, Fairfield and Chartwell at 1.30am, one to the hospital and Melville at 2am and one to Frankton, Dinsdale and Nawton at 2.25am. People can be dropped near shops or where taxis are available, as some taxis don't operate in the central city late at night.

Cr Paula Southgate asked how the council could get commercial establishments to participate in the service. Most passengers were going to Hillcrest and Chartwell with a few going to Glenview.

“Most people don't want to go home until the bars shut and we should be working with these bars on a service."

Environment Waikato and Hamilton City Council have now formally approved senior citizens fares and an application to Transfund to increase the concessionary fare programme had been approved.

A Concessionary Fare Committee will be convened of Environment Waikato councillors and staff, user group representatives and transport operators, which will decide on the level of subsidy to be paid above the concessionary fare of $1.

The fare would operate between 9am and 3pm, and users would use a Busit card which would give the senior citizens fare only on off-peak periods. At other times the card could be used with normal discounts and cash fares.

The cards would be available from July 1.