Due to public demand, people on the southern outskirts of Hamilton can soon connect to the city bus network through two trial services starting on Monday, 12 February, from Matangi and Tamahere. The alternating service goes through Matangi to Tamahere and back into Hamilton, then out to Tauwhare Pā via Morrinsville Road (SH26) and return.
Waikato District Council is funding the service as a trial for two or three years. This gives time to collect feedback and assess passenger uptake. The 14-seater Sprinter buses will connect southern areas to the Hillcrest (10), University (13) and Hamilton Gardens (17) routes as well as the high-frequency Meteor and Orbiter services meaning travellers can reach the CBD and beyond.
The Tauwhare Pā (27) service will make six return trips each day via Tauwhare Pā from Kahui Avenue, along Hoeka Roud and SH26 to Ruakura Road. And the Matangi/Tamahere (28) service will make seven return trips from Tamahere Eventide via Newell, Tauwhare, Matangi and Morrinsville Roads. Both services terminate at the University of Waikato transport hub, in Gate 1 on Knighton Road, which has shops, amenities and several urban bus connections.
Statistics NZ estimated the Tamahere population to be 6,890 at June 2023, which is a substantial number of people with strong connections to Hamilton City. David Stephens is one of them, residing at Eventide village for two years. He lives independently and most of his family lives in Hamilton.
He says he’ll make good use of this bus by going into town for shopping. Although he can drive, David says many of his fellow residents can’t and travelling to Hamilton is a regular necessity. He says the room to take one scooter or wheelchair on board will be very useful too.
Eugene Patterson, Waikato District Council’s Infrastructure Committee Chair and representative on the Future Proof Public Transport Subcommittee, says that communities in this area have consistently asked for a bus service connection to Hamilton: “We are extremely pleased to set up this trial on the understanding that, should we have good patronage uptake, we will seek co-funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi to make these services more permanent in the future.”
Waikato Regional Councillor and Deputy Chair of the Future Proof Public Transport Subcommittee Angela Strange says the sprinter buses enable more frequency on these routes, which is proving popular across the network: “Frequency keeps coming up as people’s main request of our public transport services and we believe six and seven trips a day will work well here.”
Bee Card ticketing will be available on board and SuperGold concessions can be loaded to them. Tamahere/Matangi equate to one zone and Tauwhare Pā is two zones travelled under Waikato Regional Council’s fare zone pricing system. BUSIT approved mobility stickers are available from the Mobility Centre in Hamilton.