The introduction of Waikato Regional Council’s Bee travel card has finally given improved patronage figures for Waipā District Council to drill into.
Councillors have been asking for months how many “within town” trips passengers took on the regional bus services from Te Awamutu and Cambridge to Hamilton.
They need the information to decide whether to add internal bus services in Cambridge.
Nine regions across New Zealand use the pre-paid Bee Card, an electronic smart card with tag on, tag off procedures.
Information about the trip goes to a central Bee Card system which the regional council can analyse.
Preliminary figures provided to Waipā’s Service Delivery committee this week show 12 per cent of Cambridge’s 60,650 trips in the financial year starting July 1 went across town from Leamington to Cambridge and return.
“A further level of detailed reporting is not yet available, but staff are continuing to pursue this. It is hoped the data will show anonymised individual trip information, including connecting trips on other bus services in Hamilton.”
The cross-town figure in Te Awamutu was much lower at two per cent.
Programme engineer Erik Van Der Wel said the Cambridge service suffered from a long trip duration at peak times due to congestion in Hamilton and its outskirts.
The regional council is to engage in a joint route study with Hamilton City and Waipā councils and Waka Kotahi (New Zealand Transport Agency).
The main objectives for the study are:
- Consider route options within Hamilton City that provide a quicker service, and that can be enhanced by bus priority measures.
- Explore opportunities for the Cambridge service to connect better with other Hamilton City services.
- Look to rationalise existing bus services in Hillcrest/Ruakura and Hamilton East.
Identify locations and concept designs for bus stops, shelters and safe pedestrian crossing facilities along the entire route.
- Propose service levels.
- Provide cost estimates for future Long Term Plan processes.