Minibus gets trial year
A flexible bus service should be up and running by February.
The Kowhai Connections Bus Service will stop in Warkworth, Snells Beach and Matakana, with on-request pickups and drop offs in Algies Bay, Sandspit, Point Wells and Omaha.
Project manager Bevan Woodward of Pt Wells says it's "a cross between a bus service and an airport shuttle" and will meet a long-standing need in the area.
Initially a year's trial, it will be extended if successful.
Mr Woodward made a presentation to the Rodney Local Board at its latest meeting, and he says it was positively received.
Residents and businesses in the area have also approved.
Mr Woodward says the service will benefit older residents, but also youth, workers and tourists.
It will be flexible, depending on the needs of those who use it.
"I've been living in the area since about 2007 and I just felt for some time that a local bus service would be really useful," he says.
"But it couldn't be a traditional fixed route, fixed schedule because that doesn't work too well when you've got dispersed populations."
So a timetable and route are being drafted, but the bus could vary from this for individual pickups and dropoffs.
This will cost an extra $1.50 on top of a fee of $3 for a regular trip.
There will be youth and family rates too.
Mr Woodward says he had hopes of getting the project under way by next month but there was a delay with Auckland Transport about contracts.
The project has been planned since 2010, but it was awaiting funding. That has now been secured with $100,000 coming from Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, the Hikurangi Foundation and others.
A minibus will be hired from Gubbs Motors, which will also contribute the driver. Mr Woodward says if there is enough demand the number of vehicles could increase.
The area covered could also expand and ideally it could also cover Wellsford.