Bus trips across Bay peak at new high

By Emma Ross Smith

The goBay network proved a success in 2012 with the regional council reporting a record number of public transport trips over the year.

The almost 18 per cent increase in passenger journeys was due to many changes around the region, including an increase on services between Napier and Hastings, public holiday and Sunday buses becoming available, new bus shelters being introduced as well as the services increasing in the Ahuriri area (Hopper).

Hawke's Bay Regional Council Sustainable Transport Co-ordinator Megan Welsby commented on the developments over 2012, saying: "We've doubled the frequency of the Napier-Hastings trips - they go every 15 minutes in peak times, and every 30 minutes in off-peak times. It's made transport much easier for people."

"Our fares are also very reasonable - we have a smartcard system, which can reduce the fares by up to 20 per cent."

Between January and December, there had been 726,373 trips on the goBay public transport network - an average of over 60,000 trips per month.

Access to the bus timetables has increased the public response to the network.

Other initiatives included QR codes in timetable booklets, several new on-street timetable units installed, and mobile timetable access for smart phones being introduced.

Mrs Welsby said the Hawke's Bay Regional Council would "like to think" that the increase in people travelling by bus would continue.

"We've had a steady increase over the past three years."

A new goBay initiative for 2013 is an information session on the bus systems for senior citizens who may not have travelled by bus for some time, but have an interest in the network, and how it may help them to maintain their independent lifestyle. The session is being organised by Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Age Concern Hastings.

Mrs Welsby also said that a goal for this year was to increase the number of signs so that people were aware of the location of their nearest bus stop.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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