01 April 2016

An additional bus will temporarily be put into service on BayHopper route 40 starting from Monday 4 April 2016, to help manage the increase in passenger from Welcome Bay to Tauranga City.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council says it has been actively working to understand the issues that have been occurring on the Welcome Bay Route 40 bus service, since February this year.

“We needed to understand the cause of the issues as there are a number of factors that may have had an influence including students using the public service in favour of the schoolhopper, construction activity in the area and heavy traffic during peak times.  Peak traffic volumes in particular, are making it difficult to meet service times,” says Councillor Lyall Thurston.

Cr Thurston says staff monitoring for the month of February and March have identified a 7.6% increase in passenger numbers for Welcome Bay compared to the same period last year.”

“The Tauranga urban network passenger has decreased slightly by 1% by comparison.”

Welcome Bay student passengers make up the largest service user group growing by a very significant 56% in the last 2 years, says Cr Thurston.

“These substantial increases have contributed to capacity issues particularly at two peak periods in the weekday mornings – 7.05am and 8.05am – and at 3.15pm in the afternoon.”

The additional bus will help to manage the capacity issues by running alongside the Route 40, 7.05am and 8.05am bus service in the mornings, and alongside the 3.15pm service in the afternoons. It will however not be a solution to improving the bus service times, which have been difficult to meet due to heavy traffic at peak times.

The service will operate weekly (Monday to Friday) and only during the school terms until the end of June this year.

“This is a trial service and in May we will review the progress of this additional new service and we hope to announce a long term solution before the end of June,” he says.

To find out more about service times for Route 40 and all other Tauranga services please visit our website www.baybus.co.nz or call 0800 422 928 (0800 4 BAY BUS).