Rotorua Cityride is celebrating World Car Free Day with a free barbecue breakfast and free afternoon peak hour bus travel.

World Car Free Day is Friday September 22 and with road congestion a hot topic nationwide, the day offers an opportunity to remind commuters of other transport alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport.

Rotorua Cityride buses will be free for those boarding between 4pm and 6pm and passengers will have a chance to win spot prizes from the mystery prize selector riding buses across the region and handing out chocolates or a pair of noise cancelling headphones.

Staff from The Hits radio station will be at the Arawa St bus stop between 7.30am and 9.30am, rewarding passengers with freshly cooked bacon butties.

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Bay of Plenty Regional Council public transport committee chairman Lyall Thurston welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the annual initiative again.

"One full bus load of passengers means about 40 less cars on the road and World Car Free Day presents an ideal occasion to promote public transport use and remind the community that there are viable alternatives to cars," he said.

For those in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, the popular Route 122 Whakatane to Ohope via Awatapu and Whakatane Hospital service will be free for the day - rewarding regular passengers, including students, with a free trip and encouraging those who haven't used the service to give it a go.

Informal car free days took place throughout the 1990s and the first official World Car Free Day was launched in 2000. Many big cities, like Bogota and Jakarta, close their central roads on this day and fill them with walking and cycling events and smaller car-free events take place around the world.