Hundreds of pensioners ride new Levin to Waikanae bus service

Grey Power Horowhenua vice president Lew Rohloff says a new bus service from Levin to Waikanae is going well.
MIRI SCHROETER/FAIRFAX NZ

Grey Power Horowhenua vice president Lew Rohloff says a new bus service from Levin to Waikanae is going well.

More than 90 per cent of passengers on the new Levin to Waikanae bus route are pensioners.

Startling statistics released about the service reveal 91 per cent of users are SuperGold Card holders.

Horowhenua residents pushed for the service, which started in March, as they were adamant it would be well used.

The latest numbers from Horizons Regional Council show that it has been tracking better than expected, with more than 370 passengers taking the twice-weekly service. 

The bus departs Levin on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9.30am and stops in Manakau and Otaki, before arriving in Waikanae at 10.15am.

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On the way back it leaves Waikanae at 2.55pm, stops in Otaki and Manakau and arrives in Levin about 3.50pm.

Horizons transport services manager Phil Hindrup said the start was positive.

Greater Wellington and Horizons Regional Councils are both contributing $12,500 a year toward the two-year trial project, which crosses a regional boundary.

Although most users were SuperGold Card holders, the service was sustainable, as patronage on other services, such as urban Palmerston North buses, made up in lost revenue, Hindrup said. 

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"We rely on bigger services to balance it out."

Grey Power Horowhenua vice president Lew Rohloff said it was useful for elderly people who relied on bus services. 

"It's given them a wonderful opportunity to make, perhaps, lunch-time appointments with a family member."

The service was predominantly used by SuperGold Card users, but they were really making the most of it, Rohloff said. 

"It's going marvellously well."

In the past few months, Rohloff had also noticed that more young people were becoming aware of the service, he said. 

SuperGold Card holders and children under five can travel for free. For adults, a one-way fare costs between $5.50 to $6.

 - Stuff

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