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Record year for NZ’s second biggest bus co.

Record year for NZ’s second biggest public bus operator

Red Bus Ltd, New Zealand’s second biggest bus operator, has had a record calendar year, carrying almost three million more passengers than last year.

Patronage this year climbed to 11 million people – up from 8.1 million passengers last year, Christchurch public bus company Red Bus chief executive Greg Campbell said today. ``We are one of the fastest growing public bus operators in the country and next year is looking promising.,’’ Mr Campbell said today.

``We are not sitting back. We want to move forward and encourage more people to make use of public transport in Christchurch next year.’’

Red Bus bought 33 new buses to lift its fleet to 170 this year. They are purchasing another 20 buses next year.

Staff numbers have increased significantly -- up to nearly 400 employees and are now the second biggest bus company in the country behind Stagecoach, who operate out of Auckland and Wellington.

They are gearing up to introduce smart card technology with Environment Canterbury in 2003, so passengers swipe their card when they climb aboard, rather than buy a ticket.

``We are also looking to retrofit and trial air conditioning next year. Major improvements are also planned for the airport shuttle service later in 2003.

``Our popular electric shuttle hush-bus has seen significant growth – up by almost 40 percent since the first year of operation in 1998.

Next month Red Bus will switch its entire fleet over to low sulphur diesel which has 80 percent less sulphur than other diesel. They will be the first major public bus company in New Zealand to run all their buses on the healthier lower sulphur fuel which will improve Christchurch’s air quality.

Red Bus is owned by Christchurch City Holdings Ltd and has the youngest and most modern fleet in the country.

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