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More people than ever before are travelling by bus in the Bay of Plenty.
Both Tauranga and Rotorua have had major increases in bus passengers, with Rotorua's Cityride passenger numbers skyrocketing from 81,245 in March 2011 to 98,896 in March 2012 - an increase of 17,651 passengers.
This is the first time more than 90,000 passengers have used Cityride services in any month.
In Tauranga, Bay Hopper passenger numbers have leapt from 152,000 in March 2011 to 164,624 in March 2012 - an increase of 12,624 passengers.
This is the first time more than 160,000 passengers have used Bayhopper services in any month.
Bus passenger numbers in the Bay of Plenty have been increasing exponentially since the service began operations in 2001. There are now 13 buses servicing 10 routes in Rotorua and 35 buses servicing 11 routes in Tauranga.
Transport Policy Manager Garry Maloney for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, which manages bus services in the region, said several factors had led to the surge in passenger numbers, including Tauranga's new bus interchange on Willow Street which had helped raise the profile of public transport in the city.
"We believe it's a mixture of rising fuel costs and our passengers now having more viable services available to them. We are seeing more and more new users and our existing users are using the service more often. It's great to see the services performing so well and coming to fruition. There is a real buzz in Rotorua and on Willow Street in Tauranga, with all sorts of people coming and going on the buses."
Bus timetables, which were upgraded in February this year, are constantly monitored and reviewed and will continue to be adapted to reflect the needs of the communities they serve.
Rapidly rising passenger numbers continue to influence any timetable changes that are made, with the most popular route in Rotorua being Route 2 (CBD - Polytech).
In Tauranga, Route 1 (which runs between Pyes Pa and the Mount Hot Pools) and Route 2 (which runs between Windermere Polytech and Salisbury Ave are the most popular.