If you're toying with the idea of ditching the car and using public transport for the sake of the planet, now is the ideal time to give it a go.

Taranaki's regional and local bus services will be free this Friday to mark World Car-Free Day.

World Car-Free Day aims to highlight the benefits of reducing car use in favour of public transport, walking or cycling. It is marked in hundreds of towns and cities globally.

This includes New Plymouth Citylink services (except school buses), and the Hāwera-New Plymouth Connector, while once-weekly or twice-weekly Southlink services will be free all week so no one misses out.

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"Everyone's increasingly aware of the need to reduce their impact on the environment, and one bus carrying 30 people has far less impact than 30 cars carrying one person each," says Chris Clarke, transport services manager for the Taranaki Regional Council.

The Taranaki Regional Council provides Citylink, Connector and Southlink services through its contractors.

"So here's a chance to give the buses a go. It's also an ideal opportunity to reward our regular passengers for their support and encourage them to bring friends and family along for the ride."

■ To find out how to get a bus to where you want to go, use Taranaki's online journey planner at www.planmybus.nz. For details of the region's bus routes and timetables, go to www.trc.govt.nz/routes.