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More drivers ditch their cars and catch the bus

More drivers ditch their cars and catch the bus

Thursday 25 September 2008

The rising price of petrol is changing people's travel habits in Rotorua and Tauranga with an increase in the number of car-owning residents choosing to travel by bus instead, according to a recent survey.

This trend was revealed through an independent telephone survey of 850 residents by Environment Bay of Plenty, which funds public bus services in the Bay of Plenty.

Tauranga and Rotorua bus services are excellent or very good value for money, according to about 90 per cent of bus passengers surveyed. More than 80 per cent of bus passengers in Rotorua and Tauranga are satisfied with bus services.

Around 65 per cent of passengers are using buses up to three times a week There is an increase of up to 12 per cent in the number of passengers commuting to work by bus in Rotorua, while Tauranga has seen a 4 per cent increase.

About half of the passengers surveyed owned a car, but chose to travel by bus instead. The survey also found that a fifth of passengers travelled by bus because it was cheaper than driving and was good value.

Environment Bay of Plenty Transport Committee Chairman Andrew von Dadelszen was pleased to see that people chose to use the bus rather than cars.

"We know that more Bay of Plenty residents are using the buses more often and the survey results show that those people are happy with the service," Councillor von Dadelszen said. "Our next goal is to encourage residents to get out of their cars and travel by bus more than three times a week."

The dramatic increase in petrol prices has put bus services in Tauranga under pressure with some passengers experiencing overcrowding at peak times. Environment Bay of Plenty is working with Tauranga City Council on a long-term solution that will enable passengers to commute safely and comfortably by bus.

Councillor von Dadelszen said the improvements to the Rotorua bus service from 1 July this year may see more people giving the bus a go. These improvements included a later bus service on all 10 Cityride routes, a new hourly Sunday bus network on all 10 routes and a new Thursday service to Murupara. New, more accessible, low floor buses will be launched on Rotorua's Ngongotaha, polytechnic and airport routes this month.

The service changes coincided with the launch of a new Cityride bus contract with Reesby Buses, of Rotorua. The independent telephone survey was carried out by Key Research and funded by Environment Bay of Plenty.

Eastern Bay of Plenty residents were not included in the survey.


Here are some of the survey figures which you can use to fit your readership/audience.

Satisfaction Survey - Bus Users Overall bus service Excellent or very good - Tga 81% Rot 86%.

Service reliability Excellent or very good - Tga 70% Rot 81%.

Vehicle quality/comfort Excellent or very good - Tga 75% Rot 83%.

Journey time Excellent - Tga 46% Rot 66% The higher Rotorua figure is undoubtedly the result of their quicker, simpler routes. A new Tauranga network, due to be introduced in June 2009, will aim to improve the Tauranga journey times.

Value for money Excellent or very good - Tga 89% Rot 92%

How many times a week do you use the bus? 3 or less times a week - Tga 66% Rot 65%

What is the main purpose of travel? Work - Tga 22% Rot 34% The Tauranga figure is up from 18% last year and the Rotorua figure up from a staggering 22% last year.

Do you have access to a vehicle? Yes, all the time - Tga 49% Rot 53%

Why do you use public transport? Value for money/cheaper than car - Tga 20% Rot 20% Last years figures were 10% and 13% respectively.

Satisfaction Survey - Non-Bus Users Why do you use a car rather than a bus? Convenience/flexibility/independence - Tga 30% Rot 46% This has remained static since 2006.

Would consider using a bus? Yes - Tga 79% Rot 72%. Tauranga figure up from 58% and Rotorua up from 65% in 2006.

What needs to change before you to use the bus? Change in personal situation or loss of vehicle - Tga 33% Rot 24% More services, stops, routes, days & frequency - Tga 24% Rot 38%.


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