Congratulations to the Thames Community Board which at its meeting yesterday, gave its support to making the Thames Connector public bus service permanent, and recommended that funding for it be included in the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.
Below is a summary of the meeting. You can watch the unedited recording of the meeting and view the agenda at tcdc.govt.nz/meetings.
The Board has drafted a letter to co-funders Waikato Regional Council and NZ Transport Agency in support of the move. tcdc.govt.nz/thamesconnector
The service has been operating for the last two years. It has been exceptionally well run by Thames Taxis and has proved to be very popular with locals – especially the elderly and others who lack independent transport options.
Possible Extended Bus Services
In my role as a member of the Regional Connections Committee of Waikato Regional Council I have been promoting a proposal to extend the Connector service to and from Coromandel town before and after the scheduled Thames service. The Coromandel Community Board will shortly consider this proposal and decide whether to give its support.
In the longer term, I am working on proposals for a “demand responsive” public transport service which potentially could link Thames to outlying towns such as Coromandel, Tairua, Whangamata, Ngatea, and Paeroa. “Demand responsive” means users can use a mobile phone app or an 0800 number to book the service to come to, or close to their home between scheduled hours and on certain days of the week. This is more user-friendly for most people rather than having to wait at a bus stop on a fixed timetable.
A business case for this extended service is in the early stages of development but if public support gets behind such a scheme and funding can be secured it is possible the service could begin in 2021. Watch this space.