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Outpatients making the most of free bus fares

Outpatients making the most of free bus fares

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s (HBDHB) investment into offering free bus fares for people attending outpatient appointments at Hawke’s Bay Hospital and Napier Health is already making an impact with 345 outpatients choosing to take the bus during its first month of operation.

HBDHB Chief Operating Officer Sharon Mason said today the DHB was thrilled to receive travel data for January which showed 345 outpatients had chosen to take the bus to and from their appointments – a 61% increase in bus patronage compared to the previous January (2016).

In December, HBDHB announced the free bus fare initiative for outpatients and their support person/caregiver with the initiative coming into effect from 1 January 2017. Outpatients simply need to show their appointment letter/card or text reminder to the bus driver to get on the bus network for free.

Mrs Mason said Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, who operates the goBay bus network, had worked closely alongside HBDHB to improve bus timetable options and include direct services.

“We greatly appreciate the collaboration and commitment by goBay to achieve better services to and from Hawke’s Bay Hospital and Napier Health,” said Mrs Mason.

“The fact that 345 outpatients chose to take the bus for free, instead of drive their car to their appointment, means that we are already making a positive impact toward helping to ease parking congestion.”

Last month HBDHB announced it would be introducing paid parking at Hawke’s Bay Hospital and corporate offices from today, 1 March – another initiative in its Go Well travel plan to ease congestion. Designated parking spaces separate staff parking and patient/visitor parking. Patients/visitors are able to park in ‘blue’ parking spaces and pay $1 for 3.5 hours between the hours of 8am and 5pm weekdays. After 5pm, weekends and public holidays are free.

Free drop-off areas outside the Emergency Department and maternity for labouring women remain and various parking exemptions are included. For more information, go to www.ourhealthhb.nz and click on the paid parking icon.


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