Getting to and from Palmerston North’s largest event, The Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games, has become a whole lot easier thanks to support from Horizons Regional Council.
The two organisations have worked together to make Palmerston North Urban, Massey University, Ashhurst and Feilding bus services free for the Rural Games weekend on Saturday 14 March and Sunday 15 March 2020.
“We’re pleased to be able to provide our normal weekend services free for both days of the Games. This will make it easier for residents to get to The Square – eliminating the need to use cars or to find those elusive carparks,” says Horizons’ chair Rachel Keedwell.
“Buses provide an economical and environmentally-friendly option for getting around and I hope that by offering these services for free, more people will get to experience how easy public transport is to use.
Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games founder Steve Hollander welcomed the news.
“The Games are a free event for all of the family and every year around 30,000 people make their way to our events. Free bus services will make it easier for everyone to get to the Games and home again.”
Chair Keedwell says that 2020 is a big year for public transport in the region.
“Horizons contracts bus service suppliers on behalf of the community. The service is subsidised by NZTA and targeted regional council rates.
“In the coming months, Horizons will be rolling out the Regional Integrated Ticketing System (RITS) to the Palmerston North and wider region’s bus services, allowing passengers to tag on and off the bus using an electronic card – the Bee Card.
“This will allow passengers to board buses faster and for most trips to be cheaper than cash fares. It will also allow Horizons to gather more efficient patronage data and to plan smarter services in the future.
“We’re also currently reviewing our Feilding to Palmerston North service. Existing bus users and new users are an essential part of this process and we’d love to hear their thoughts on what can be improved.”
Chair Keedwell says the Horizons’ team will be at the Games, where the public can come and discuss bus services, view native fish, and learn more about what is being done in the Manawatū to improve water quality and land management.
Weekend bus timetables can be found at https://www.horizons.govt.nz/buses-transport/bus-routes-transport