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Published: 2006-12-14 00:00:00

Christmas shoppers should consider taking the bus as a stress-free solution to moving around the city at this busy time of year, says Environment Waikato passenger transport spokesperson Paula Southgate.

“New services such as the Orbiter, CBD Shuttle and the Chartwell Direct are proving to be very popular – and should prove a boon to Christmas shoppers,” Cr Southgate said.

“The Orbiter goes to major shopping centres including Westfield and The Base and new frequent city services take you right into the heart of the city centre. It beats queuing for parking, especially at peak times when most car parks are full.

“Also now that school is out it’s a great way to get to the movies, museum and parks.”

Statistics show that the popularity of Hamilton’s new bus services continues, with November city ticket sales proving to be a huge 26.7 per cent higher than the same period last year.

Patronage jumped to 213,937 this November compared to last November’s 168,832 - which represents more than 45,000 extra tickets being sold.

“Our continued drive to improve the quality, frequency and efficiency of Hamilton’s bus services is clearly paying off,” Councillor Southgate said.

Hamilton ticket sales in the year to date broke the million mark climbing to 1,002,824, compared with 2005's November year-to-date total of 841,411.

Year to date figures show regional patronage up 17.3 per cent over the same period last year.