Green Light Expected Soon – Service Might Begin in September?
Some very encouraging news has emerged today about the Thames bus trial. The proposal has been favourably reviewed by the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) and the Waikato Regional Council (WRC). Both agencies have advised the District Council that sufficient data has been gathered from the work myself and Transport Planner Adam Lawrence did, and from the Workshop held on 30 May, to put together a strong strategic case for the bus service.
The work required to complete the strategic case is expected to be completed within the next fortnight. In the meantime, the District Council has requested Regional Council staff to start work on preparing the public transport tender documents. This will mean that tenders from bus transport operators can be invited as soon as we have the green light from NZTA.
Subject to the NZTA strategic business case approval coming through as anticipated by 31 July 2017 the project timeframes are tentatively as follows:
- Thames bus service tender documents released (1 August 2017). Tender to allow for the initial trial, collection of critical data (e.g. patronage, fare box recovery, suggested service improvements) and provision for an on-going service (subject to the evidence collected during the trial supporting a continuous service)
- TCDC undertake communications strategy and marketing of trial service (August 2017)
- Trial Thames bus service commences late August 2017
- Report to TCDC and NZTA regarding the case a continued service (based on the evidence collected) beyond the initial trial period (October 2017).
I will keep you all posted with another update when (fingers crossed) the NZTA finally signs off on the strategic case at the end of July.
Don’t start waiting at bus stops just yet. But we are edging ever closer to having a bus service in Thames!