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Taupō Connector bus changes to improve patronage and reliability

Changes to the Taupō Connector bus service coming into effect later this month aim to improve patronage and reliability.

Waikato Regional Council and Taupō District Council have carried out a review of the service over the past 12 months, with the following changes taking effect from Monday, 29 July:

  • The bus will operate six days a week. It will no longer run on Sundays and public holidays.
  • The Wairakei shuttle will become part of Taupō Connector route and the bus will stop at Huka Falls.
  • There is an additional early morning service from Wharewaka.
  • Buses will now travel via Taupō-nui-a-Tia College after school.
  • The bus will no longer travel to Acacia Bay, and will instead terminate at Jarden Mile.
  • The bus will no longer travel to Waitahanui. 

Timetable and fare information, the route map and bus stop details are available by visiting www.busit.co.nz

Taupō District Council agreed with the changes at its March meeting. District council infrastructure manager Denis Lewis said the changes to the bus services are based on the number of people using the services. 

“Unfortunately, some areas don’t have enough people using the service on a regular basis, and that makes it difficult to sustain.” 

The new timetable will include a revised route to include the Wairakei loop and a new stop at Huka Falls. 

“Some of the changes will not be convenient for everyone but we can only encourage folks to look for alternative options such as carpooling,” Mr Lewis said. For carpooling, the community can visit www.letscarpool.govt.nz

“The changes will help to manage costs and encourage more residents to use the service. We expect that Huka Falls, for example, will become a popular destination on the bus route for both locals and visitors to the area,” Mr Lewis said. 

“We’re also working closely with the regional council to improve information for passengers about the bus service, as well as promote it to residents and visitors.” 

Waikato Regional Council works with Taupō District Council to deliver the bus service. The regional council manages the Taupō bus contract on behalf of the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA). 

The regional council’s policy and transport group manager Vaughan Payne said, “The BUSIT team has spent a lot of time working with the district council and bus contractor to develop an improved service, and we’ve taken into account feedback we received in a survey of passengers in July last year. 

“We are aware these changes will have an impact on some in the community, but for the service to continue they had to be made to grow the number of passengers each day. 

“Some sections on the Taupō bus route have very low patronage and overall fares only cover about 12 per cent of the cost of the service, compared with a regional average of 36 per cent. 

“The rest of the cost is split 50:50 between Taupō District Council ratepayers and taxpayers through the NZTA. 

“That means for every $1.20 being paid in fares, $7.80 is coming from ratepayers and taxpayers to cover the cost of the bus service,” Mr Payne said.

 

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