CityLink to reintroduce Okara loop route from 19 December
‘Use it or lose it’ is the message to Whangarei residents as a public bus route servicing the city’s Okara shopping centre is reintroduced after an absence of eight years.
The CityLink bus service is operated by Ritchies and administered by the Northland Regional Council.
Regional Transport Committee chairman John Bain says the former Okara loop route (formally known as ‘Route One’) was trialled when the CityLink service was set up in mid-2008, but was dropped after several months due to low passenger numbers.
However, it will now be brought back due to public demand, largely to service the city’s increasingly busy Okara shopping centre.
Councillor Bain – one of two councillors who represent the regional council’s Whangarei Urban constituency – says CityLink will trial the route again from Monday 19 December.
Fares will cost $1 per trip and the route will run from Rose Street back to Rose Street with stops at The Hub (Town Basin), The Warehouse (Port Road entrance), MegaSurf and Porowini Ave (outside Pacific Ford Group).
Councillor Bain says given the amount of traffic likely to be in the area in the lead-up to Christmas it could take 20 to 25 minutes for the bus to cover the 5km route however, that travel time would likely reduce in January.
CityLink timetables would be updated at that time and incorporate the more typical journey times expected along the Okara loop.
“Until then, we will print posters to be displayed at the Rose Street bus terminus and update the CityLink website with the interim loop route hours.”
Councillor Bain says the regional council is pleased at the apparent demand for the route’s reintroduction but says – as with any public transport route – its future once again lies firmly with users as its continuation will rely on their ongoing patronage.
The CityLink service currently runs six days a week – excluding most public holidays – and typically carries an average of 1200 people daily over six routes. The reintroduced Okara loop will be the seventh route on offer.
Councillor Bain says more information about CityLink – including its operating hours up to and over the holiday season and a special $1 service-wide fare promotion on Thursday 22 December – is available from its website www.citylinkwhangarei.co.nz