On yer bike - more opt for two wheels

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 05:00 12/03/2014
Darren Hacche
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ
BIKING FIT: Wellingtonian Darren Hacche has lost eight kilograms commuting to work on his mountain bike. 

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The car remains king for Wellington commuters, but new figures show an increasing number of people switching from four wheels to two.

Data from the 2013 census showed a leap in the numbers of Wellington residents cycling to work.

A total of 3729 people rode to work on census day in 2013, compared with 2157 in 2006 - an increase of 73 per cent.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown described the trend as "a significant increase".

"These results give some muscle to the council's proposal to boost funding for cycling improvements," she said.

Council transport portfolio leader Andy Foster said it was clear people were making the choice to bike for health, cost and environmental reasons.

"A lot of people are taking up cycling and using their daily commute as training. It's being described as the new golf."

By far the most people drove a car, truck or van to get to work, however. A total of 39,756 chose that mode of transport in 2013, compared with 41,181 in 2006 - a decrease of 3.5 per cent.

The data also showed a jump of 82 per cent in the number of people riding motorbikes to work.

The percentage of people travelling by bus and train was static.

Just under 14 per cent - 14,565 Wellington residents - got to work by bus last year, while just over 3000 caught the train.

Wade-Brown said the "stagnation" needed to be addressed.

"I urge the regional council to take a more strategic view on fare increases."

Regional councillors this month voted to increase bus and train fares.

Smartcard and multi-trip fares will rise in October by 1 per cent, and cash tickets by 50 cents in certain zones.

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- The Dominion Post

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