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New public transport trials for Hikurangi, Whangarei Heads

22 Oct 2020, 9:30 AM

Residents from the Hikurangi and Whangarei Heads areas are being urged to support separate 12 month trials of new public transport services in their respective areas.

Northland Regional Council Chair Penny Smart says the two trials will both involve buses operating once a week on a Thursday, with a morning and afternoon run.

At this point ‘Hikurangi Link’ will see a 25-seater white Ritchies bus leave Whangarei’s inner city Rose St bus terminus at 9.15am on Thursdays bound for Hikurangi Town Centre arriving at 9.52am and stopping opposite The Miners Rest. (It will then travel back to Rose St.)

En route for Hikurangi the bus will stop at 509 Kamo Road and stop again at 410 Kamo Rd on its return trip to central Whangarei Central, where it is expected to arrive at the terminus at 10.25am.

Chair Smart says Hikurangi Link will cater largely to people heading to the city wanting to shop and/or meet medical and other appointments.

“During the holidays, the service could be used to get to the Waro Limestone Scenic Reserve or to visit the Hikurangi Historical Museum which is open on every Thursday from 10.00-11.30am (or by appointment).”

“The bus will begin the estimated 37-minute return to Hikurangi from the terminus at 1.30 pm.” Trips will cost $3 each way.

Meanwhile, Chair Smart says ‘Whangarei Heads Link’ will make one trip from the corner of Reotahi and Whangarei Heads Rd to the bus terminus – also on Thursday each week – and again using a 25-seater Ritchies bus.

The bus will depart at 9am on Thursdays, stopping at McLeod Bay playground, Parua Bay, Manganese Point, Tamaterau and Waikaraka for a 40-minute journey to the city and again, is expected to cater largely to people wanting to shop and/or meet medical and other appointments.

The return trip will depart 1.30pm at with journeys costing $5 each way.

Chair Smart says the trials are expected to cost $30,000-$35,000 each.

She says Northland Regional Council increased the district-wide Targeted Transport Rate for the 2018-2021 financial period for the purpose of trialling passenger transport services in three key areas of the Whangārei district; Hikurangi, Ruakaka/Waipū and Whangarei Heads.

Both new services are due to begin Thursday 05 November and timetables for each (and wider information about them) can be found online at www.buslink.co.nz

Meanwhile, Chair Smart says there will also be a short Christmas school holiday ‘Beach Bus’  trial from Rose St bus terminus operating only on 17, 24, and 31 December 2020 and on 07, 14, 21 and 28 January 2021.

People wanting to travel to Ocean Beach can catch this service at Rose St bus terminus on these days at 11am. The bus returns from Ocean Beach carpark at 2.30pm and the trip will cost $10 per person return.

“As always, the viability of any trial transport service depends on the public supporting it and I’d encourage anyone needing to get to town for shopping or appointments to use the services,” she says.

“We'd really like people to tell us what they think of the service, what might be useful to them and what more we can do with this trial to help us improve it as we go.”

The regional council is also encouraging feedback to be emailed to [email protected] in the first instance.

Chair Smart says while there will be a formal review in three months’ time, “there’s definitely flexibility to make changes before then based on feedback as we need to; that’s the point of a trial service”.