Friday, September 23, 2011

World Car Free day comes to Bay of Plenty

Free bus rides across the region

More than 11,000 passengers enjoyed a free ride on the bus yesterday [Thursday] as part of World Car Free Day activities in the Bay of Plenty. The region's Bay Hopper and City Ride buses were made free for the entire day as a surprise to reward those committed to using public transport.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Public Transport Subcommittee Chairman Doug Owens said that it was a great opportunity to offer a small reward to people who are choosing to act sustainably.

"This was an opportunity to recognise the thousands of people in our community that already know the benefits of using public transport and are making use of our buses. We hope that we created a positive experience yesterday that will increase awareness of our valuable bus networks," he said.

World Car Free Day is an international campaign to promote the economic, social and environmental benefits of cycling, walking and public transport.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council incurred the loss of revenue for the day, and Reesby Buses Ltd also came on board to make a contribution towards the Rotorua costs.

The Bay of Plenty Bay Hopper and City Ride bus services cover all major towns and suburbs in the Bay of Plenty including Opotiki, Whakatane, Kawerau, Murupara, Rotorua, Te Puke, Tauranga, and Katikati.

Cr Owens encourages others to consider the bus as a win-win option for getting around.

"Taking the bus is not only good for the environment, it also takes a lot of hassle out of your day. In addition there's no need to pay for a park, and plenty of time to text your friends and have a read of the paper," Cr Owens said.

"World Car Free Day was a great opportunity to encourage people to use public transport, but the biggest challenge now is to encourage people to make it part of their everyday routine," he said.

"We hope that those who received the free ride yesterday will continue to keep taking the bus and encourage friends and family to join them too," Cr Owens said.

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