Horizons, the regional council uniting Rangitikei, Manawatu and Horowhenua areas into one coherent region, has announced the cessation of the urban bus service in Levin. The service, which runs on Thursdays in the eastern half of Levin only, will make its final journey on June 30. The internal bus service in this rural town of 19,000 residents was started in 2002 as a three-year pilot, in the first years achieving patronage in excess of 10,000 passengers per year, but this subsequently declined and since then route numbers and running days have been reduced. In fact currently just two routes remain, on the one side of the town centre only, each route with two services a day, and on one day of the week only.
According to the Regional Council transport manager Anne Redgrave the bus service never achieved Horizon's baseline funding criteria, and attempts were made to reduce the cost to avoid cancellation. She told the Horowhenua Mail it was hoped that reductions in the number of service days would concentrate passengers on the remaining services, she said. "However, numbers have continued to decline and we can no longer justify the level of ratepayer funding needed to keep the service going for a limited number of passengers."