Car Free Challenge Coming

16 September 2016

Have you wondered what it would be like to leave your car at home for the day?

Next Thursday (22 September) is World Car-Free Day – with New Plymouth district and Taranaki regional councils joining cities around the world in encouraging residents to use alternative transport for one day.

“The great thing about World Car-Free Day is that it encourages people to reconsider their travelling habits, and hopefully set up a new habit around more active travel as we head toward summer,” says NPDC Manager Transportation Carl Whittleston.

“If you had to do without a car, how would you manage? Would the kids cycle or scooter to school? Would the adults walk or bus to work?

“World Car-Free Day is a great opportunity for families to work out how they could use their car less often, and for us to see how our towns would look and feel if there were fewer cars on the road and more people walking, bussing or cycling.”

To mark the day, Taranaki Regional Council will run its Taranaki Citylink and Connector bus services for free (except for school services). 

“Taranaki people are very car-dependent so maybe this one day they can think about trying the bus, walking or cycling,” says TRC Transport Services Manager Chris Clarke.

The free bus promotion is being organised by TRC, which provides the New Plymouth Citylink and Hawera-New Plymouth Connector services through its contractors. Similar promotions have previously boosted bus patronage by more than 50 per cent.

“It’s a reward to existing customers and hopefully it will encourage more people to try the buses,” says Mr Clarke.

Bus timetables are available online at taranakibus.info, and as well as at the Civic Centre on Liardet Street, the Bus Centre on Ariki Street and at i-SITES.

Many schools are encouraging their students to participate in World Car-Free Day, and their parents to check their children’s active-travel routes.

Mr Whittleston says people who would find it impossible to go without a car for the entire day can still do their bit.

“Try switching out at least one car ride by walking, bussing or cycling,” he says.

“If you have to travel quite a distance or have very young children, consider parking further away from your venue and walking the last distance.”