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Published: 2014-09-30 00:00:00

Changes made to BUSIT services over the past year have been welcomed by passengers, with overall customer satisfaction hitting 96 per cent.

Customer Care Limited was contracted by Waikato Regional Council to survey 1000 passengers on buses across the region over two weeks in August and September this year.

“The results are incredibly pleasing and show that while we’re not perfect all of the time, we are delivering a network that meets the needs of our customers,” said Ben Barlow, the council’s public transport operations manager.

“A range of improvements we’ve made in response to feedback during last year’s survey has seen the number of customers satisfied with their bus trip rise by one per cent to 96 per cent.

“We have also worked hard with our operators to make the Hamilton bus fleet fully accessible to wheelchairs and prams – that’s been welcomed by our passengers, with 95 per cent satisfied with how easy it is to get on and off the bus, up three per cent on last year,” Mr Barlow said.

He added that timetable information is now available at more bus stops and the layout of our printed timetables has also been improved to address issues raised during last year’s survey.

“There’s also been a huge jump in the number of people heading online to plan their BUSIT journeys, with 39 per cent of people surveyed visiting www.busit.co.nz for timetable and bus route information – up 10 per cent. And more people are satisfied with the website, up 2 per cent to 93 per cent.”

Mr Barlow said cost was an issue for 20 per cent of passengers surveyed – this will be looked at during a comprehensive review of fares to be carried out by the council next year.

Waikato has the fourth largest public bus service in New Zealand, costing about $23 million and attracting more than 5.1 million passenger trips annually, with over 4.6 million on just the Hamilton network.

There are currently 26 bus routes in Hamilton, and another six regional services travelling to the city. Bus services also operate in Taupō, on the Coromandel Peninsula during the summer holiday season, and between Mangakino and Tokoroa/Taupō.

Almost 90 per cent of the people surveyed use the bus daily or once or twice a week, and 45 per cent do so because they have no alternative transport options.

Visit www.busit.co.nz to plan your trip, speak to the team on weekdays at the transport centre in Bryce Street, or call 0800 4 BUSLINE (4 2875463).