Bay of Plenty Regional councillors today voted to endorse proposed changes to Tauranga bus routes after listening to community feedback.
The decision to do so comes after councillors and staff recently held three community meetings in Maungatapu, Ōtumoetai and Pāpāmoa to discuss the reinstatement of some routes lost after the new bus network began on December 10.
Route 36 from Pāpāmoa and Maungatapu to the central business district will be reinstated during peak hours including at the Pāpāmoa end - a 5km extension east to accommodate requests from Pāpāmoa residents.
In the off-peak period, a new route will be introduced for Maungatapu to the CBD, including an extension to include Te Hono St and Maihi Cres to accommodate the requests from Maungatapu residents.
The former route 70 service in Matua will also be re-introduced during off-peak hours.
The current peak service route will remain with additional alternatives being considered at the regional council's Public Transport Committee meeting on March 29.
The regional council and NZ Bus are now working together to make the route changes as soon as practical.
In a press release, Public Transport Committee chairman Cr Lyall Thurston said today's decision was "a step in the right direction" as they looked to put the recent network challenges behind them.
"The reinstatement of the routes addresses the immediate concerns residents had.
"We realise in a number of instances the dropping of these routes impacted on people's lives and it is pleasing to be able to fix this," Thurston said.
Transport staff were now looking into how they would respond to the need or otherwise for more substantive changes to the bus network,
Their findings would be presented to the Public Transport Committee at the end of March.
The regional council had also completed the roll-out of moving the majority of Tauranga school bus services to new contractors for the rest of the 2019 school year,
The council said this would allow NZ Bus to focus on the city's urban network as it dealt with its driver shortage.