Free trips to mark World Carfree Day
Northlanders are being urged to leave their cars at home and take free public transport instead as part of World Carfree Day later this month.
This year's Carfree Day falls on Friday 22 September and will see people all over the world encouraged to do without their vehicles for 24 hours in favour of cycling, walking and public transport.
Northland's four public transport services collectively make up the 'BusLink' network; Whangarei-based CityLink, Hokianga Link, Mid North Link (which operates in the wider Kaikohe and Bay of Islands areas) and Kaitaia's Far North Link.
The Northland Regional Council has teamed up with BusLink's operators – Ritchies, CBEC, Hokianga Express and the Kaikohe Bus Company – all of which will offer free rides on their respective fleets to mark Carfree Day.
'Free Ride Day' trips will be available throughout Friday 22 September, including the Hokianga Express and the Mid North Link's 'Route 3' (from Kaikohe to Kerikeri) both of which don't normally operate on a Friday.
Regional councillor John Bain, who chairs the Northland Regional Transport Committee, says Free Ride Day's backers are hoping the public will get into the spirit of the day and take advantage of the offer.
'While CityLink and Far North Link services will operate to their normal Friday timetables, we suggest people wanting to use the other two services doublecheck their operating times for the day on the BusLink website; www.buslink.co.nz"
"Given the smaller services use correspondingly smaller vehicles, we're also suggesting people ring the operator of their local service before their intended free trip just to make 100 percent sure they'll have enough seats available."
Councillor Bain says the four operators vary in size from the largest, CityLink (which runs a fleet of eight 40-seater buses in urban Whangarei carrying more than 1200 people daily) to the smallest, Hokianga Link, which operates a single 11-seater van on Thursdays during winter (expanding to Tuesdays and Thursdays over summer).
Meanwhile, as well as the free travel, organisers are inviting both users and non-users of the four services to take part in an online survey about their transport habits.
“As an extra incentive, those who complete the survey will go into a draw to win one of 10 grocery vouchers worth $50 each.”
Councillor Bain says people interested in learning more about Free Ride Day should visit the regional council’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/NorthlandRegionalCouncil – or check the BusLink website – www.buslink.co.nz – for timetables in their local area.