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Published: 2008-07-03 00:00:00

Amid growing demand for buses and high petrol prices, Environment Waikato is introducing three new Direct services in Hamilton to meet the need for more buses to and from northern and western suburbs.

Direct buses operate at peak hours and make a limited number of stops, providing a cheaper and quick way of getting to and from the city. The buses will also help further reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

The three new services, which start on Monday 7 July, are Dinsdale Direct, Pukete Direct and Rototuna Direct. The Pukete Direct will service the Maui St industrial area and the Rototuna Direct will head east on Thomas Road to give the newly formed St James and Somerton areas network coverage. The Dinsdale Direct will boost service to the ever growing Dinsdale, Nawton and Brymer areas.

People – particularly new bus users – can try the new services for free between 7 July and 11 July.

"We hope this will encourage more people to give the buses a go, so that they can see the benefits of bus travel for themselves," said acting land transport operations manager Sue Callis.

Aside from providing quicker journeys, the new Direct services will link with the Orbiter and several other Hamilton routes.

"With Hamilton growing at the rate it is, these new Direct services are a useful way of meeting growing passenger transport demand in the city," said Mrs Callis.

City bus patronage for the year to date is up 26 per cent, continuing a strong upwards trend in passenger transport use in Hamilton.

"This is encouraging for the new Direct services, which we hope will attract even more people to our network," said Mrs Callis.

She said she was awaiting June bus patronage figures with great interest. "There has been a noticeable increase in foot traffic around the transport centre and BUSIT! cards are becoming more popular. Clearly, perceptions of public transport are changing due to high prices at the pump, the constant improvements to the network and the high quality of our fleet. People are realising the benefits of travelling by bus for themselves and for the environment. We want these new services to play a big part in reducing traffic on our roads."

For more information please ask at the transport centre, visit www.busit.co.nz or phone 0800 4BUSLINE.