For the first time, double decker buses are operating on Waikato Regional Council’s public bus network.
The two buses – constructed for Go Bus by Global Bus Ventures (formerly Designline), a New Zealand firm in Christchurch – arrived in Hamilton last month and have been getting decked out in new livery. They rolled out on the Orbiter bus route (external link)in Hamilton for the first time yesterday (Monday 9 April).
Waikato Regional Council worked with contracted bus operator Go Bus to introduce the double deckers to the fleet to create more capacity on some of the city’s most popular bus routes.
Waikato regional councillor Russ Rimmington said: “This is an exciting solution for passengers trying to get on buses full to capacity in the morning and afternoon peaks.
“Each bus has 87 seats and the ability to carry 13 standing passengers on the bottom level. All up that’s 100 people and almost 20 more than our next biggest bus,” Cr Rimmington said.
“In the city we now have a completely refurbished or new bus fleet. All buses are fully accessible and air conditioned, and the next step is free on board wi-fi on the Hamilton bus network soon.”
Hamilton city councillor Dave Macpherson also welcomed the addition to the fleet and added: “Being able to carry more people will help to keep our city moving by encouraging more people off the roads and onto buses.
“Coupled with the new bus lanes the city council has been installing, it’s an exciting time for public transport in Hamilton,” Cr Macpherson said.
Go Bus commercial director, Craig Worth, said: “These are the first double deck city buses in the Go Bus fleet in New Zealand and we’re thrilled to have them rolling out.
“Due to the height of the bus they’re a little different for our staff to drive. So there’s been some special training drivers have undertaken over the past few weeks to make sure they’re ready for today,” Mr Worth said.
The new buses join the network at a time when patronage in Hamilton is on the rise.
Acting as the flagship route the current transport network, the Orbiter drives and heavily influences other routes. The improvements made to the Orbiter’s timetable and route have led to a significant lift of 4.44 per cent – more than 11,000 passenger trips – in the first five months after introducing a new timetable and buses. Buses on the Orbiter route now run every 15 minutes between 6am and 6pm weekdays and around half hourly at other times.