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Published: 2007-04-17 00:00:00

Environment Waikato’s park and ride shuttle service proved a hit with Balloons over Waikato Night Glow goers last Sunday, carrying approximately 1700 to the event and the same number back.

Melville was the busiest of seven park and ride sites set up around Hamilton, carrying more than 350 people. A new site at Grosvenor Park in Rototuna was also popular, taking about 260 people.

Environment Waikato land transport operations manager Russell Turnbull praised bus contractor Go Bus, which had “pulled out all the stops” to cope with the event being postponed until Sunday.

“Due to driving hour restrictions on bus drivers, Go Bus had to bring out of town drivers in from as far away as Tokoroa,” Mr Turnbull said.

“These drivers had to be trained on the routes, use ticket machines they had never seen before and drive buses they weren’t necessarily familiar with. We were really impressed with their good spirits in coping with large passenger volumes – it was a superb effort by the company.”

Mr Turnbull said the University of Waikato had been a good venue in terms of bus access. However he was disappointed with a few people who removed key traffic signs, causing large volumes of cars to come down roads that had been set aside for buses only.

“Many people also parked in clearly marked ‘no stopping’ areas and these two factors slowed some buses down as they were leaving the Night Glow,” he said.

“But we were really impressed with the patience of our customers. The crowds were in good spirits and even though one group had to wait until 9pm for their bus, some commented it was still quicker than having to park miles away and walk.”

Mr Turnbull said he was pleased with the overall outcome of the event.

“We look forward to refining our traffic management plan so we can provide an even better service next year,” he said.