Regional buses connecting to intercity rail

The Waikato Regional public transport plan 2018-2028 is to ‘Implement mass transit start up projects’ which include
* Passenger rail Hamilton to Auckland
* High capacity, rapid and frequent bus corridors within Hamilton
* Rapid and frequent public transport services between Hamilton and Cambridge, Huntly and Hamilton, and Te Awamutu and Hamilton. P13

The three projects success depends on having integrated timetables so buses arriving at the Rotokauri station before the train leaves, not just after it leaves; at present the Huntly bus #21 leaving from Hamilton Central at 5.50am would arrive 3 minute after the train leaves Rotokauri, then picking up passenager as it pass through Horotiu, Ngaruawhia and Taupiri, it arrives 12 minutes after first train has left Huntly.

With a 5.30am start, the regional bus catchment route linking to the Auckland train timetable is 85km long, with 6.5km of it having a 10-minute frequency between Hamilton Central and Rotokauri, arriving before the last train leaves for Auckland from Rotokauri. The Huntly bus (#21 Northern Connector) having a 5.30am plus a 6.10am start allows early passengers to choose a long wait at Rotokauri or just in time in Huntly.

This 5-year $92m* start-up includes $2,246,000 (HCC Meeting 27 Aug 19 p14) to build 105 car parks ($20,000 per car park) at the Rotokauri station. The business case** says ‘approximately 15% are expected to come from Horotiu by car, and the remainder from rural parts of the Waikato district that are easily accessible to The Base via car … WRC will ensure that the existing bus services integrate well with the rail timetable’(p48**). For every person arriving by bus 25m2 of land within 500m of the station can be saved and put to more productive use than the storage of unused motor vehicles.

The existing evening timetable completely misses the last train home. Having an 8.00pm bus is still early. It would work for rail commuters, but the real benefit would be an increase in people socialising in Hamilton.

*‘Of that cost, $79.8 million would come from NZTA and $12.57 million from local authorities’ Waikato Times – New commuter rail service gets a name: Te Huia to fly between Hamilton and Auckland – by Mike Mather 05 Feb 2020

**Business Case Nov 2018 – time table page 69 The Base 6.41am

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