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Published: 2014-09-16 00:00:00

Waikato people are being encouraged to jump on a bus, enjoy a cycle or walk to work, or car pool as a way to celebrate World Car Free Day next week.

As a thank you to people who opt to travel on any of Waikato Regional Council’s bus services during a five-day car free promotion from 22-26 September, passengers could win one of 10 $50 BUSIT cards. Visit www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/carfree for details.

Monday 22 September marks World Car Free Day, which was established in 2000 as a grassroots movement to promote alternatives to travelling by car and reduce the impact on the natural environment.

“Walk, cycle, bus, formally carpool with others, or just catch a ride with your husband, wife, neighbour or friend who is going the same way,” said the regional council’s business sustainability advisor, Anna D’Arcy.

“These are not only fun and economic ways to get around our city, but they also help to reduce congestion and vehicle emissions.”

Ms D’Arcy said every car free trip helps. “One full bus can mean more than 40 less cars going through your neighbourhood. Even using your car just one day less each week will reduce your carbon footprint by one tonne of carbon dioxide a year – that’s enough to fill a typical 25 metre swimming pool and takes 3.6 trees to offset.

“Whether it’s a one-way or return trip or your five-day-a-week commute, going car free or carpooling is a realistic option for many people in the region,” she said.

The regional council’s BUSIT network connects regional areas like Te Awamutu, Cambridge, Paeroa, Te Aroha, Morrinsville, Raglan, Ngaruawahia and Huntly with Hamilton. Satellite services also run in some other regional centres, including Taupo.

In Hamilton, we have almost 1000 stops and 26 bus routes connecting most suburbs to Hamilton’s city centre.

“So, if you haven’t hopped on board one of our bus services previously, this is a good week to give it a go,” Ms D’Arcy said.

Visit www.busit.co.nz or www.letscarpool.govt.nz for more information on bus and carpool options that can work for you.