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Tranzit Coachlines transitions Waikato bus fleet to electric

The six new electric Tranzit buses in Waikato will cover some of the longest distances of buses in New Zealand

New Zealand family-owned bus and coach operator Tranzit Coachlines has announced the transition of its Waikato bus fleet to electric.

From this week, Tranzit Coachlines has started replacing diesel buses with the first of six new electric buses operating the Cambridge (20) and Te Awamutu (24) services, courtesy of a partnership with the Waikato Regional Council.

The electric buses will work to an expanded and more frequent timetable that doubles the number of weekly services connecting the district to Hamilton. Each weekday, the Cambridge service will increase from eight to 20 return trips, with the Te Awamutu service rising from nine to 19 services.

On weekends, both services will increase from four to 13 return trips per day.

These extra trips mean Waipā’s regional bus services will cover some of the longest distances in the country, with each bus set to typically travel between 350 and 500kms per day, while most New Zealand public transport buses average 220 to 250kms per day.

Tranzit general manager of bus and coach Jenna Snelgrove says the company is proud to continue its partnership with Waikato Regional Council in delivering public transport services throughout the region and expanding its electric bus fleet following the introduction of an electric bus into Taupō last year.

Tranzit Coachlines area manager Connor Mear. Image: Tranzit

“It has been great to partner with Waikato Regional and Waipā District Councils to launch this improved electric bus network, which has seen Tranzit welcome an additional 12 drivers and procure six brand new electric buses to deliver quiet and smooth services for passengers,” Snelgrove says.

She says significant planning went into electrifying these routes, which included selecting the correct bus and batteries for Waipā’s roads, catering to the demands of longer trips and ensuring passenger and driver comfort. The buses can carry 75 passengers (37 seated and 38 standing).

While Waikato Regional Council staff will monitor patronage numbers and understand passenger demand on the new timetable, the diesel-fuelled ‘assist’ buses will remain on hand to make sure no one is left behind. Tranzit is also teasing double decker electric buses later this year to boost capacity at peak times.

Waipā District Council’s group manager of service delivery Dawn Inglis says the new EV buses and increased timetable will benefit many Waipā residents and visitors to the district.

“We are constantly looking at ways to improve how people get around our towns, as well as offering visitors other options to get here,” Inglis says.

“The upgraded timetable and decreased environmental impacts are a win for everyone.”

Waikato regional councillor and deputy chair of the Future Proof Public Transport Subcommittee Angela Strange says greater frequency is a critical component of the Hamilton-Waikato Metro Spatial Plan.

“We’ve seen increasing frequency lead to greater passengers numbers across the network. People love the convenience,” Strange says.

“We know commuting between Waipā and Hamilton is very common and we’re confident more people will make use of these services.”

Both services will follow slightly different routes to accommodate charging. In Leamington, the Cambridge bus will travel from the depot in Pope Terrace straight onto Goldsmith, then Southey, Arnold and Shakespeare Streets instead of completing a full loop that includes Cook Street.

The Te Awamutu service will carry onto and terminate at Kihikihi, meaning the town will enjoy a seven-day service instead of the current Tuesdays and Thursdays.

To celebrate the arrival of the new EVs, BUSIT staff have been holding community events in Cambridge and Te Awamutu and directing passengers to the BUSIT website.

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