Waipā residents will pay half of the normal fare to catch a bus from Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Ōhaupō to Hamilton from next week as a new bus ticketing system is introduced.
From Monday, Waikato Regional Council will launch the new Bee Card system to replace the existing BUSIT card. While it is rolled out over the next six months, fares will be significantly reduced.
Catching the bus from Cambridge and Te Awamutu will cost $2.70 with a Bee Card, down from $5.65 with a BUSIT card. Without a card, the cash fare will be $5. Ōhaupō to Hamilton will be lowered to $2.20.
Fares within Waipā will also be slashed with the Cambridge to Leamington fare dropping to $1 and Kihikihi to Te Awamutu also $1 with a Bee Card.
Waipā District Council transportation manager Bryan Hudson said the new system would not only provide immediate benefits to Waipā bus passengers but would also improve the service long term.
"We know public transport is something many of our residents consider vital to improving our towns and making them better places to live.
"We hope the change to fares and improved card system will encourage more residents to test out using the bus to see if it works for them.
"As with anything, if there is enough demand for it, we've got more scope to make changes and improvements in the future."
Free transfers will be available across all services, including Hamilton buses, for Bee Card holders allowing bus users to take a second bus within half an hour of tagging off the first at no extra cost.
For example, Waipā residents could take the bus from Te Awamutu to Hamilton and could then transfer onto the Comet bus to get to The Base all for $2.70.
Concession types will also be temporarily merged meaning no separate child, University of Waikato, or Wintec discount. SuperGold card holders, however, will still receive free travel in off-peak hours.
These concession types and normal fares will be reinstated later this year.
In the meantime, residents are encouraged to visit www.busit.co.nz/about-us/bee/ for more information on the changes.
Bee Cards can be collected from the Cambridge and Te Awamutu i-Sites for free and from next week can also be topped up there, online, over the phone or at the Transport Centre.
Bee Cards can also be ordered from beecard.co.nz or via 0800 205 305.