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Published: 2004-02-03 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is to convene a workshop to discuss issues and explore options for people with transport disadvantages in rural areas.

This week’s Regional Passenger Transport Subcommittee meeting heard that the Council had had a number of requests about providing passenger transport services to people living in rural areas with no bus or taxi services. Pressure was coming from small rural communities (Matamata, Putaruru, Turangi, Mangakino, Pukemiro and Meremere) where residents relied on family, neighbours or volunteer organisations to take them shopping, to medical appointments or to community services such as the library.

Providing separate services to several small communities would be an expensive option, and among the ideas was having a wheelchair accessible small bus that several districts used. The bus could be used on a designated day in each area. Passengers would need to pre-book and other agencies may be able to contribute funding.

The Council intends to convene a workshop of all local authorities in the Region to collate ideas and suggestions.

Passenger Transport Operations Co-ordinator Noel Burnie said. A low floor, wide entrance bus was being looked at which could accommodate a wheelchair and provide a level of service that is not there right now.