The Mid North finally has a daily bus service after many years of lamenting its lack of public transport.
Mid North Link connects most towns in the Bay of Islands and the Kaikohe area with three different routes targeting shoppers and workers.
The trial, which starts today and will run for up to two years, is operated by Kaikohe Bus Company and funded by a $280,000 grant from the Northland Regional Council.
However, the new service comes with an important proviso - use it or lose it.
Council chairman Bill Shepherd urged Mid Northerners to "get in behind it" because the service's future would depend on the level of support it received.
Two routes run seven days a week and are aimed mainly at people working in horticulture or the Bay of Islands' tourism industry.
A third route will operate twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and aims to help people get to medical appointments, hairdressers, banks and shops.
The routes are served by new 12-seater vans with fares ranging from $3 to $8.50 each way. Ten-trip concession tickets are available for regular users. All three routes connect with long-distance services such as InterCity and Mana Bus.
The three routes are:
Route 1, Northern Workers: Departs Kaikohe at 6.35am, travels to Okaihau, Ohaeawai, Pakaraka, Kerikeri and Waipapa. Return trip leaves Waipapa 5.15pm. Aimed at horticulture workers.
Route 2, Southern Workers: Departs Kaikohe at 7.35am and travels to Ohaeawai, Pakaraka, Moerewa, Kawakawa, Paihia and Waitangi. Return trip leaves Waitangi 5.15pm.
Aimed at tourist industry workers. Routes 1 and 2 will operate seven days and on public holidays, excluding Christmas Day and Good Friday.
Route 3, Southern Shoppers: Leaves Kaikohe at 10am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follows the Southern Workers' route to Waitangi, arriving about 11am. It then continues to Kerikeri and Waipapa, leaving Waipapa at 2pm for the return leg. Route 3 will not operate on public holidays.
- Go to www.buslink.co.nz for more information.