Funding decisions recently made by TCDC and Hauraki District Council indicate that local public transport services will soon be expanded. This follows presentations made in the past 12 months to local community boards and Hauraki District Council by Thames-Coromandel representative on the Waikato Regional Council, Denis Tegg seeking an extension of public transport coverage beyond the successful Thames “Connector” bus he initiated in 2017.
The Thames “Connector” within the township will continue with the existing route and timetable until August 2022 when it will be retendered. “This service has been exceptionally well operated by Thames Taxis, has received great feedback from the Thames community particularly the aged, and has been judged a success by Waikato Regional Council who operate the service”, said Denis Tegg
Coromandel – Thames Coast – Thames
“Given the success of the Thames service it is great news that it will be extended to provide a Coromandel – Thames Coast – Thames connection. Coromandel and the Thames Coast has become more isolated after some commercial services were withdrawn, so I expect this new service will be well received in these communities” said Mr Tegg.
The new three day a week return service between Coromandel, Thames Coast and Thames will commence as soon as Waka Kotahi (NZTA) confirm their share of funding. This will be an extension of the Thames “Connector” bus service leaving Coromandel town at around 7:30 am and returning in the afternoon after the Thames township service finishes at 3.30 pm. Details of timetable and which three days of the week the service will operate have yet to be decided.
“There is also great news for the disabled community in Thames who need wheelchair access to a vehicle. A Total Mobility transport scheme for the disabled has been granted $10,000 to operate in Thames township”. This service will have a wheelchair lift into the vehicle and will be available to disabled people who are not able to access and use the existing bus. The scheme will operate much like a taxi service – but for the disabled with a 50% subsidy on the fare. Several other towns in the Waikato region have successfully operated a similar service.
$10,000 has been set aside for the Whangamata community to further investigate public transport options between the township and Thames and Waihi. An “upon demand” service has been proposed for the area.
Hauraki District Council
Hauraki District Council have set aside a budget of approximately $80,000 for new public transport initiatives. Waikato Regional Council have proposed various options to connect Waihi, Paeroa, Ngatea, and Thames. A revised connection to Hamilton is also in the potential mix of new services.
Other options being explored include a collaboration between local councils and the University of Waikato for a bus service between Thames and Hamilton for both students and the general public, and greater integration of existing health shuttles with public transport services.
“Overall these are significant expansions of public transport, and I am very grateful for the support both district councils and community boards have provided for these essential services”