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Mayor says free buses show Hamilton's for action, not words

Hamilton Mayor Andrew King says the launch of a free weekend bus service in the city shows Hamilton’s about action, not just words.

The trial service, for people aged 18 and under, starts this weekend and Mayor King says it’s another bold step taken by the city towards reducing congestion, improving road safety and looking after the environment.

“There’s a lot of talk around the country about environmental responsibility, but too often talk is all there is,” Mayor King says.

“This Council is about action, and with the support of the Waikato Regional Council we have got this trial underway in record time. This is a great initiative, but I believe it’s just the start of what we could be doing.

“I’d like to see free youth buses during school holidays before we introduce free off-peak travel for all passengers and then eventually free bus services for everyone, all the time, within Hamilton,” he says.

Mayor King says the financial benefits of reduced road usage could offset the costs of a free service.

“We have to think differently to be transformational. How many millions of dollars can we save our ratepayers in road maintenance costs every year if we get people out of their private vehicles and onto public transport, ride-sharing schemes or e-scooters or bikes? How many more millions can we save if we don’t have to widen roads?

“If we can encourage a new generation to use public transport it has massive benefits down the track. And it’s not just about the environment or our roads – it’s about reducing barriers to connectivity, which has great social benefits as well,” Mayor King says.

“I’m incredibly proud Hamilton’s got this across the line. It’s a great starting point, and one which reflects a city which makes things happen.”

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