The Hawke's Bay Regional Council bus network is continuing to attract more customers, with a record number of passengers climbing aboard the goBay service last month.
There were 71,681 passenger trips in March, an increase of 12 per cent on the previous record from March 2011. In 2011 Hawke's Bay people made 616,198 trips on the public transport network.
Although there had always been a public transport network, the goBay service has been in operation since 2009 and has proven popular.
Regional council transport coordinator Megan Welsby said the increase in patronage could be attributed to a number of things.
"I think it is a combination of a good fleet of vehicles, petrol prices, people are thinking a little bit more sustainable about transport, and, of course, now with the Napier-Hastings service we've got that running at peak time every 15 minutes; so that makes it a really viable option," Ms Welsby said.
"We've extended the routes, we've also now started earlier in the morning and go a little bit later in the evening."
March was traditionally goBay's best month and passenger trips this March were the highest on record.
Ms Welsby said a lot of work had been undertaken recently to ensure that all bus stops were marked and timetable information installed at key stops. A text-a-bus service and putting bike racks on buses were being investigated. The text-a-bus service would allow waiting patrons to text a number and receive information telling them how far away the next bus was, according to the timetable. The council was also looking at the possibility of making the temporary Hopper service permanent.
"We've really just tried to raise the whole profile of the service. We've improved the marketing and the promotion of the services and that has really helped," Ms Welsby said.