BY BRIANNA PORTER
Newcastle's Transport operator is disputing a reported downturn in passenger numbers.
Opal Card data released this week showed a significant fall in patronage of around 72,000 compared to the same time last year.
However, Keolis Downer says when the stadium park-and-ride and on-demand services are taken into account, 41,000 new passengers are hopping on the bus compared to this time last year.
Director of Corporate Affairs, Andrew Fletcher says Newcastle residents have never been better catered to.
"Why has the region never been better connected? Well, it's to do with our new network design, frequent routes linking 8 major suburban hubs across metropolitan Newcastle, making it easier for people to get around the city," he said.
"Our aim is to move people further, faster and we're off to a good start with that," Mr Fletcher said.