22 March 2019

Bay of Plenty Regional councillors have voted to accept proposed Tauranga bus route changes after listening to feedback from the community.

Councillors and staff recently held three community meetings in Maungatapu, Otumoetai and Pāpāmoa to discuss reinstating some routes that were lost when the new bus network began on December 10.

Following this feedback, Route 36 from Pāpāmoa and Maungatapu to the CBD will be reinstated during peak hours including at the Pāpāmoa end, a 5km extension east to accommodate the requests from Pāpāmoa residents.

In the inter and off-peak period a new route will be introduced for Maungatapu to the CBD, including an extension to include Te Hono Street and Maihi Crescent to accommodate the requests from Maungatapu residents.

The former route 70 service in Matua will be re-introduced during off peak hours while the current peak service route will remain with additional alternatives considered by the Public Transport committee on March 29.

Regional Council and NZ Bus are now working together to make the proposed route changes as soon as practical.

Public Transport Committee chairman Lyall Thurston says today’s decision is a step in the right direction as they look to put the recent network challenges behind them.

“The reinstatement of the routes addresses the immediate concerns residents had. We realise in a number of instances the dropping of these routes impacted on people’s lives and it is pleasing to be able to fix this,” Cr Thurston says

Transport staff are now scoping how they will respond to the need or otherwise for more substantive changes to the bus network and this process will be presented to the Public Transport Committee meeting at the end of the March.

The Regional Council has also now completed the roll-out of moving the majority of Tauranga school bus services to new contractors for the rest of the 2019 school year, to allow NZ Bus to focus on the city’s urban network as it deals with a driver shortage.