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Free buses make Christmas shopping a breeze

Monday, 26 November 2012

Free buses make Christmas shopping a breeze

Horizons Regional Council is encouraging shoppers to save their parking pennies by hopping on a free bus in the lead up to Christmas.

To help reduce the stress of finding a park this silly season, all Palmerston North buses supported by Horizons will be free on the weekends of 1-2, 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23 December.

Free buses will also operate in Feilding on the Saturdays of these weekends and additional home-only services will run after the Palmerston North Christmas Parade on Saturday 1 December.

Horizons transport manager Anne Redgrave is encouraging people to make use of the free weekend services and says this year late night services will be added to the regular bus timetable on Thursday 13 and Thursday 20 December to coincide with late night shopping. These will run at 7, 8 and 9pm and regular fares apply.

“The free weekend services offer an opportunity for those yet to try our public transport services to hop aboard and see how easy it is to travel by bus.

“We know this time of year is a busy one on our region’s roads and by providing free and extra services we hope to take a bit of the hassle out of Christmas shopping.”

Ms Redgrave says demand for late night services was evident in submissions to Horizons’ Long-term Plan and while the Council could not gain funding from NZTA to implement these permanently it could be something to revisit in future.

“While we can’t make them a permanent fixture at this stage, running these late night buses on the two Thursdays will be a good way to gauge their popularity,” she says.

The number of people using public transport in both Manawatu and Wanganui is steadily increasing and while it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact reason for this growth Ms Redgrave believes service improvements, higher fuel prices, car maintenance, parking and environmental factors all play a role.

“We’ve been making continual improvements to our public transport networks over the last few years and this is reflected in higher passenger numbers. Patronage has increased by 39 per cent in Palmerston North, 37 per cent in Feilding and 5 per cent in Wanganui over the past four years”.

For more information about bus timetables and routes visit the passenger transport section of Horizons website www.horizons.govt.nz or call free phone number 0508 800 800.


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