A water taxi service on the Waikato River from Pukete to Hamilton's CBD is back on track - with a faster boat - after a hiccup with Hamilton City Council caused the service to be delayed.
The service was originally set to launch in August, however the Waikato River Explorer company, operated by Darren Mills, ran into problems when the council originally were against them storing their vessel at the CBD jetty.
However, since then the council and Mills have been working to find a solution with discussions moving positively.
"After discussions with council over the issues regarding overnight accommodation, we are confident that there is a workable solution out there. With that expectation, we are entering negotiations to purchase a new vessel that will complete the Pukete to the city run in under 30 mins," Mills posted to the Waikato River Explorer Facebook page.
There is still no start date for the service currently, however the CBD jetty that the service will use will be completed in December.
Mills has said previously that he was after a quicker river taxi, with the current boat in operation only able to do the trip between 40 and 50 minutes depending on direction - upstream or downstream.
The ferry service will run on a six-month trial to see if the passenger demand is there for it to continue.
"Some of the comments we have had from people is the trip is too long and the bus takes exactly the same time, but the bus has 27 stops and there is no cafe and bar on board," Mills said.
"The trip takes about 50 minutes from Pukete to the CBD, but on the way back it is quicker as the river flows north so only about half an hour on the way home."
Mills says the Waikato Regional Council, which looks after Hamilton's bus network has been very supportive of the project and is close to finalising a subsidy to enable the trial to run.
The price per return run will be $15 casual. A monthly pass works out at $10 per return trip.
The departure times are yet to be set, but the service is expected to leave from Pukete around 7.30am, and the depart from the city will be 5.20pm arriving at 5.50pm.
"We have room to take up to eight bicycles on the boat as well so people can cycle down, catch the boat and then depart and cycle off to work again," Mills said.
Mills says the service won't be able to run beyond the trial period unless enough people are interested. So far more than a dozen people have an expressed an interest.