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Bus transport in the Waikato reaches another level

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Ten new ‘kneeling’ buses launched recently on Hamilton’s bus network in January by the Waikato Regional Council are another example of passenger transport partnerships in action.

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The ten kneeling buses are a new addition to the Waikato Regional Council’s passenger transport services, in partnership with GoBus and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA). Photo credit: Waikato Regional Council

Ten new ‘kneeling’ buses launched recently on Hamilton’s bus network in January by the Waikato Regional Council are another example of passenger transport partnerships in action.

The buses can be lowered and a ramp pulled out to provide step-free entry, enabling wheelchair and pram users to easily get on and off at their bus stop.

In resident and passenger surveys conducted by the Waikato Regional Council last year, people asked for improved ease of travel for wheelchairs. They also said more pram-friendly buses would result in more people using public transport to get around the city and its surrounds.

As a result of the feedback, all 26 bus routes in Hamilton now have air-conditioned buses, with space for wheelchairs and prams; making Hamilton’s service one of only a few public transport networks in New Zealand which is fully wheelchair accessible.

Gerri Pomeroy from CCS Disability Action Waikato welcomed the move. “We’re really excited that all the buses will be wheelchair accessible. It makes journeys better and easier for people with a disability, especially if they don’t have independent access to a car.”

The region’s fleet is provided by Go Bus, Pavlovich, Turley Murphy and Waipawa Buses. Pavlovich operates Hamilton’s Orbiter, CBD Shuttle and Northern Connector services, while Go Bus is contracted by the regional council to operate the remainder of Hamilton’s urban services.

Go Bus spent $4 million adding the 10 newly-built low-floor accessible buses to its fleet. “It’s been a significant investment but one which we felt was worth making to enhance the positive experience for BUSIT passengers,” says Go Bus commercial manager Craig Worth.

Waikato/Bay of Plenty Planning and Investment Manager, Robert Brodnax, says the Transport Agency’s contribution to passenger transport is part of ensuring a wide range of smart travel choices are available to New Zealand’s road users and travellers. “It also provides a great example of working together with partners to target funding where it can achieve the best outcomes.”

Find out more about the NZ Transport Agency and its passenger transport role and planning here(external link).

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NZ Transport Agency Planning and Investment Manager, Robert Brodnax, (left) celebrates the launch of the new kneeling buses with (from left) Waikato Regional Council acting public transport operations manager, Ben Barlow; Glenn McLeod from GoBus; and Waikato Regional Council representatives Lois Livingston (regional councillor) and Paula Southgate (Council chair). Photo credit: Waikato Regional Council

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Waikato Regional Council’s buses are just one example of how NZ Transport Agency funding assists local authorities to provide better public transport throughout New Zealand. Photo credit: Waikato Regional Council

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