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Published: 2011-10-03 00:00:00

Free shuttle buses transported almost 10,000 supporters to and from the fan zone for Hamilton’s three Rugby World Cup 2011 games.

Waikato Regional Council worked closely with contractors Go Bus, as well as the Hamilton City Council, to deliver an efficient rugby shuttle service for the matches.

Last night, a total of 3700 revellers for the Wales v Fiji game travelled from the fan zone in Hood Street to Waikato Stadium between 5pm and 6pm, and again after the game until 8.45pm.

Just over 3000 passengers boarded the shuttles for the New Zealand v Japan test on Friday, 16 September and the numbers were similar for the Wales v Samoa game two days later.

Regional council group transport manager Vaughan Payne said although crowds had been larger than first anticipated, careful planning meant additional buses and drivers were brought in to respond to the demand.

“I experienced the bus service myself for the first two Hamilton matches and heard people comment on the friendly, rugby-themed service we provided.

“Many of the drivers entered into the spirit of the Rugby World Cup on match days by wearing rugby jerseys and hats, and some buses were decked out in flags. And the fans themselves were civilised and in good spirits, singing their hearts out and doing Mexican waves on the buses.

“Over the three matches a frequent service was provided from the fan zone up to the match and we had buses ready to take people back into the city at the conclusion of the games.

“The services operated without incident and despite the high numbers of passengers, as well as large numbers of cars on city streets, we ensured supporters arrived at the stadium in plenty of time for the games – a fantastic result for Waikato,” Mr Payne said.