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Published: 2011-12-19 00:00:00

Avoid the parking hassle and get driven to go shopping for Christmas presents and the holiday season bargains in Hamilton this summer.

Hamilton bus users are sharing why they’re driven to use BUSIT services during a five month advertising campaign launched in the past week.

Getting to Hamilton’s shopping hubs is among the top reasons, along with being driven to fun destinations, work and study, and getting quality time with loved ones.

For Melissa Reid, a few bingles while driving was good reason enough for the 20-year-old to hop on a bus. It gets her safely from Dinsdale to her job as a retail assistant at Jeans West in central Hamilton, as well as to go shopping.

“I’ve had a couple of scrapes in my car, so the bus makes me feel safe and is a great choice for me. It’s easy, convenient and gives me time to do my own thing, like listen to my iPod and keep in touch with friends, instead of worrying about driving,” she said.

The bus stops right across the road from Melissa’s house, so she can hear the bus coming and easily time her run out to the bus stop each morning.

But it’s the quality time Ann Sutherland gets to spend with her grandson that drives her to leave the car in the garage and instead take the bus when he visits.

The 71-year-old retiree lives in the Enderley area of Hamilton and volunteers at St John and the New Zealand Blood Service. She uses the bus regularly for outings and activities such as going to the library, shopping, getting to the blood centre, visiting friends and going out for coffee.

She has two bus stops very close to her home and prefers to use the Orbiter to get around Hamilton.

“It’s a great service, so why wouldn’t I use the bus? It gets me everywhere I need to go, and it saves the hassles of finding a car park.

“When my grandson, Le Roy, comes to visit on weekends and during the school holidays we have a great time going on the bus together. We make a whole day out of it, travelling to The Base or Chartwell to have lunch and a look around.

“Sometimes we’ll hop on the bus again to head up to the blood service at the hospital where my daughter works to say hi and perhaps have some afternoon tea, before heading home on the bus,” Mrs Sutherland said.

Le Roy’s delight at being on the bus is plain to see. The six year old and his Nanny have a wonderful time playing games, pointing out interesting things and spending quality time together.

Waikato Regional Council’s policy and transport group manager Vaughan Payne said the ‘I’m driven’ campaign is about real people who really travel by bus telling their stories.

“We want to demonstrate how the Hamilton buses are affordable, will get you to your destination and also eliminate the parking hassle.

“We had more than 4.5 million passenger trips on Hamilton services in 2009/10 and the results from our latest independent passenger survey show that 98 per cent are satisfied with the service.

“With school holidays starting, you can better enjoy the time with your kids by busing to Hamilton’s fun destinations, like the zoo, Hamilton Gardens and swimming pools. Or let us drive you to the city centre, Chartwell or The Base to do that last minute Christmas shopping,” Mr Payne said.

To plan your bus trip, visit www.busit.co.nz or call 0800 4 BUSLINE (0800 4 2875463). You can also keep up to date with the latest information from BUSIT on Facebook: www.facebook.com/busitwaikato.