11 February 2018

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Public Transport Committee has recommended to council that the Waihi Beach trial van service be made permanent following engagement with the community and stakeholders.

The 11-seater van trial first started in October 2015 as an extension to the Katikati Shopper service.

After consultation with the Waihi Beach community the timetable was adjusted to better suit passengers and put in place in October last year.

The service is known as the Town Connector and connects Waihi Beach, Waihi and Katikati.  Councillors recommended at Friday's Public Transport meeting to extend the service from one to two days a week.

Committee chairman Lyall Thurston says positive engagement with local van users has allowed it to set a timetable that meets the community’s needs.

“We’ve had some great feedback from the operator who says passengers really enjoy their travel and groups will often travel together for a social outing,” Cr Thurston says.

“Two passengers met each other and formed a friendship on the service and used it as transport to go on their first date.”

Waihi Beach passengers are using the van to access medical services in Katikati, while many are also taking the van to visit supermarkets.

Cr Thurston says some Katikati College students are also using the link for lessons at the Waihi Surf Lifesaving Club after school.

“The trial service has been and continues to be a success. It is generating a lot of positivity within the three communities and is genuinely making it easier for members of the community to get around”

For further media information, please contact Simon Neate, Transport Marketing Advisor, simon.neate@boprc.govt.nz