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Published: 2008-06-16 00:00:00

Bus patronage records continue to tumble in Hamilton as people look for transport alternatives in the face of high petrol prices.

Latest figures for May show passenger trips were up 9 per cent on the same month in 2007, and 26 per cent ahead for the 12 months to May. There were more than 292,000 Hamilton bus passenger trips in May 2008 compared to 268,177 in May last year. City peak patronage, as well as CBD Shuttle, Chartwell Direct and Orbiter patronage were all at record monthly highs. Once the impact of April’s special events is taken out, off peak patronage also reached a record high.

“The continued rise in petrol prices is undoubtedly playing a part in the growth,” said acting land transport operations manager Sue Callis.

“However, service improvements and positive publicity about buses will be playing a part as well.

“We are confident that new customers coming to us as a result of high petrol prices will be impressed and stay with us even if prices fall away in future.

“Bus use is a fast, cheaper and convenient way of getting about in Hamilton, and it’s far more environmentally friendly and reduces traffic congestion,” said Mrs Callis.

Across the wider region, passenger trips outside of Hamilton were ahead by just over 2000 or 9 per cent at 24,232.