Two trial bus services have been introduced for travelling between Maketu and Tauranga.
The Bay's public transport network is trialing a commuter service for Maketu each week day, starting Monday.
The first and last journeys of the Twin City Express, which runs between Rotorua and Tauranga, will extend to include Maketu.
Starting Wednesday a Maketu to Bayfair shopper trial will also begin, providing an extra return trip between Maketu and the shopping centre on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Both new services are in addition to the existing service provided by the Whakatane to Taurange route, which travels via Maketu each weekday and on Saturdays.
The services will also increase travel options for those travelling to and from Te Puke and Paengaroa.
Bay of Plenty Regional councillor and chair of the public transport subcommittee Lyall Thurston said the trial services would run until the end of June to give time to evaluate whether they would be viable to continue in the longer term.
"At the moment all our trial services are scheduled to finish at the end of June, however if people are using them and the demand is there it's likely they'll continue, so I really do encourage people to look at whether taking the bus to get around is an option for them.
"There are plenty of benefits, such as not having to find parking or dealing with any traffic issues during the trip," he said.
"It's been terrific to see the options for travel increase to residents across the region with trial services currently in place for Maketu, WaihiBeach and Ruatahuna," he said.
Cr Thurston urged community members to make sure they were promoting the services with their friends and families.
"If you know of someone who would prefer not to drive, make sure they're aware of the options they now have to use public transport - especially if they would like the trial to continue beyond June."
Timetables and fares for the trial services are available on the recently refreshed Baybus website www.baybus.co.nz, or by calling 0800 4 BAY BUS (0800 422 928).
- Route 222a will travel from Bayfair Shopping Centre to Maketū and return each Wednesday and Friday (except public holidays). The bus will travel via Paengaroa on the Bayfair to Maketū journey, and via Te Puke on the Maketū to Bayfair leg.
- Twin City Express will include Maketū on its first and last journey each weekday (the 6.20am service from Rotorua to Tauranga and the 5.10pm service from Tauranga to Rotorua). This will add approximately 15 minutes to the commuter trip time.
- The trial services are in addition to the existing service provided by Route 143 between Whakatāne and Tauranga which travels via Maketū each weekday and on Saturdays.