Rising demand may boost bus services

By John Cousins

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Strong peak demand could see extra buses put on to the Bay Hopper routes servicing Papamoa and the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic's campus at Windermere.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council's transport policy manager, Garry Maloney, said there was quite a lot of pressure on the two routes, particularly Route 36 which ran between the city centre, Maungatapu and Papamoa.

A final call would not be made until the New Zealand Transport Agency had made a decision on the council's application for extra funding to help pay for improvements to the bus services.

The extra subsidies would cover improvements to the morning and afternoon peaks on Routes 2 and 36, which the council hoped to introduce in May.

Route 2 took in Windermere, the city centre, Bayfair and Mount Maunganui.

The changes would introduce a more frequent peak time service than the current half-hourly turnaround.

Although the council had not drilled down to how much more frequently the buses would run, it involved putting an extra bus on to each route.

"It is not finalised, not everything is lined up," Mr Maloney said.

The 10am to 3pm timetables would stay pretty much the same.

Mr Maloney said bus patronage had been tracking well during December and January, following November's record month.

It was always quieter during the summer holiday months.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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