Options for travelling between Maketu and Tauranga are about to improve, with the introduction of two trial services to the Bay of Plenty's public transport network.
From Monday, the first and last journeys of the Twin City Express between Rotorua and Tauranga will extend to include a commuter service for Maketu each week day.
From Wednesday, a Maketu to Bayfair shopper trial will begin, providing people with an extra return trip between the town and the shopping centre on Wednesdays and Fridays.
These are in addition to the existing service provided by the Whakatane to Tauranga route, which already 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 chairman of the council's Public Transport Subcommittee Lyall Thurston said the trial services would run until the end of June to give the regional council enough time to evaluate whether they would be viable to continue in the longer term.
"It's been terrific to see the options for travel increase to residents across the region with trial services currently in place for Maketu, Waihi Beach and Ruatahuna," he said.
Whether or not the services would continue past the trial period would largely depend on how frequently they were used.
"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.
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).