Waikato Regional Council plans to seek public comment on possible new public transport services in the Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki districts.
The consultation document will outline possible new services which could include linking the Thames with Coromandel, Tairua, Whangamata, Ngatea, Paeroa and Waihi, and connecting to Hamilton via Te Aroha. No decision has been made.
Thames-Coromandel representative on the Waikato Regional Council, Cr Denis Tegg, was the instigator of the very successful Thames “Connector” small bus service in the township.
Since being elected in 2019, Tegg has actively engaged with local communities and presented many options to community councils and councils for possible new public transport services in those communities.
“The communities of Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki are calling for better public transport, and the urgent need to reduce emissions means we cannot afford to postpone changes that can be accelerated,” Tegg said in a statement released this week. .
“This consultation proposal not only makes transport funding more efficient and accessible to more people, including older people and people with disabilities, it also gives us the flexibility to deliver better services.”
The Waikato Regional Council will also be seeking public comment on a proposal to assume responsibility for public transport service pricing in the Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki and Matamata-Piako districts.
Currently, the Waikato Area Council only assesses Hamilton ratepayers for transit services.
In Thames Coromandel Hauraki and other districts, the local council is responsible for scoring and transferring funds to the regional council.
“This funding agreement is very slow and cumbersome and makes it more difficult to deliver fair and consistent service levels regionally,” Tegg said.
If given the go-ahead after consultation in April, the rating of existing and new public transport services in the districts of Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki and Matamata-Piako would be collected by the regional council rather than the district councils from the 1st January 2023 .
Tegg says this will be an interim step while the Regional Council investigates whether to assume responsibility for rating all public transport services and infrastructure across the region.