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Plans for the bus go round and round

DELWYN DICKEY
Last updated 05:00 05/06/2014
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BUS BONANZA: A public bus service to Warkworth could be a bonus to commuters and students, while also bringing visitors.

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Warkworth should get a public transport service in about a year, as Auckland Transport opens consultation next month for what shape it will take.

The lack of a bus service has been a bone of contention for northern residents, with one only available from Waiwera.

The north has long been a commuter area with a big chunk of the workforce making the long working week trip to the North Shore or over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

But the journey has been steadily getting earlier as North Shore populations have grown and the motorway has become more congested. A clear run over the bridge now means leaving Warkworth before 6am.

The Albany Park 'n Ride for the Northern Busway provided some relief, as has the new Silverdale Park 'n Ride. A service from Warkworth would free up more car spaces in these two areas as well as taking cars off the road.

While the exact form has yet to be decided, the Silverdale Park 'n Ride looks likely to be as far south from Warkworth as a service would go, Auckland Transport (AT) says.

From there passengers can connect to other services heading throughout the city.

With Massey University and Unitec 40 minutes down the road at Albany, and AUT University at Northcote a 50-minute drive, it would make it a lot easier for students to take up the cheaper option of living at home while studying.

AT says there will be specific questions aimed at students during the consulting process.

Along with older folk being less reliant on family and friends to get around, it could also help encourage businesses to establish in Warkworth.

The Kowhai Connection trial bus service is set to continue at least until the implementation of a new service. A connecting service incorporating the Kowhai Connection, particularly in the weekend, could see more visitors, including backpackers, able to reach Warkworth and eastern villages, beaches, walkways and cycleways.

Consultation will run from July 14 to August 14.

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