Bay of Plenty Regional Council P' />

The Bay of Plenty's Twin City bus service has become so successful the company running it is taking over the business.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Passenger Transport sub-committee chairman Douglas Owens said the Twin City Express weekday service between Rotorua and Tauranga had been contracted out since 2004 and had been subsidised by the regional council for about $50,000 a year.
Reesby Buses began the service in 2004 carrying about 6000 passengers a year, they now carry about 15,000. In the last year the 22-seater bus has been two-thirds full on most trips.
"The council saw a need for a service between Rotorua and Tauranga and providing that service has been rewarded by good patronage. This is a real success for the regional council and Reesby Buses.
"We've grown a service from one that required subsidy to make it work to where it no longer requires subsidy," Mr Owens said.
"The service can now operate without any public funding.
"The Minister of Transport wants to improve the commerciality of the public transport sector and we're pleased that in collaboration with Reesby Buses we've been able to play our part."
Reesby Buses manager Dave Reesby said he was grateful to the council for setting up the service and putting funds in to get it under way.
"A commercial service can't do that initial setting up, so we're grateful that the regional council saw the need and got it going. We're also grateful to our regular passengers - students at both polytechnics, commuters and elderly people visiting friends for the day.
"The drivers on this service are also really good and make the service work," he said.
The commercial service begins on June 1.
Passengers won't notice any difference in the service, which runs from Rotorua to Tauranga from 8am and returns in the afternoon after 5pm.