A six-week trial of a free bus from the northern parts of Horowhenua to Levin has been called a success.
Now it's a matter of waiting to see if Horowhenua District Council will come on board with funding for the service to run permanently.
The trial bus service ran from Shannon to Levin, via Foxton and Foxton Beach, each Friday for six weeks this spring, with council support. Figures showed an average of 24 people travelled on the bus each week; the largest number recorded in one day was 35. The majority of those who used the service were from Foxton. Numbers increased during the school holidays.
The buses were scheduled to arrive outside Te Takere, Levin's library and community hub, in time for its regular Friday lunchtime concerts.
A survey conducted in the past three weeks of the service showed it was used extensively by people who had no other means of transport.
"Really great to have bus when got no transport," one user commented. "Beats hitching to places. Best thing ever and get to Levin once a week. Great."
"Please don't take this service away," said another.
However a permanent, free service would cost $30,000 a year to run. At present the council has had no public discussions on its future.
With the council not scheduled to meet again until February it will be a while yet before the service returns, with potential for funding not to be confirmed until the next annual plan is signed off in June.
"The six-week trial has identified the need for a regular bus service from Horowhenua's rural towns to Levin," Te Takere chief executive Joann Ransom said.
"We want the free bus to become a permanent fixture so Foxton and Shannon residents can continue to enjoy Te Takere's facilities, as well as do their shopping or attend appointments."
Ms Ransom said she understood Horowhenua District Council was looking at ways to fund the free service.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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