08 December 2018

More direct routes, more frequent services and more reliable buses are part of the new Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty bus network which starts on Monday morning (subs Dec 10).

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Public Transport Committee Chairman Lyall Thurston says it is the first time the network has been changed since 2008.

“In the last ten years the region has seen unprecedented growth. The new network is designed to improve reliability and on time performance,” Cr Thurston said.

“It has been redesigned to provide more direct routes and stronger connections between areas outside of the Tauranga city centre.”

New routes have been introduced to address urban growth issues including the new CBD and hospital routes that leave every 15 minutes, and the Golden Sands Express.

Cr Thurston said at least 30 per cent of passengers will have shorter journey times because of more direct routes.

"More frequent buses will enable people to travel closer to their desired travel times, so there will be savings in their journey times as well.”

New features on buses include bike racks and internal and external CCTV cameras.

Regional Council is committed to low carbon transport, with five electric buses rolling out across the network from mid 2019.

The public transport network is paid one third by Bay of Plenty Regional Council; one third is covered by fares; one third is paid by the New Zealand Transport Authority. There is also a SuperGold fare subsidy administered by Ministry of Social Development to fund free bus travel for seniors.