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August 8, 2011 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Yet Another Bus Story in Salient

Wellington City Councillors want public transport to be more affordable for tertiary students.

In a submission on Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Public Transport Plan they called for concession fares for students on buses and trains.
The goal of the policy is to encourage a rise in the use of public transport.

“Patronage has not been growing in recent years, partly as a result of reliability issues and fare increases,” the submission said.
VUWSA and Victoria University will both be arguing for concession fares for students in oral submissions on the Plan this week.
“VUWSA and Victoria have been calling for affordable public transport for students for years, but the Regional Council hasn’t moved,” VUWSA President Seamus Brady said.

“The average student has a weekly income of around $240. Many can only work part time (if at all) and most of their income is eaten up by rents, flat expenses and travel costs getting to study or work.”

Wellington is already late to the game on helping its students out, with Auckland tertiary students having their transport subsidised, and ones in Palmerston North getting it free.

Brady will likely have a tough time convincing some Regional Councillors like Peter Glensor who questioned the proposed concession fares.
“Why is a university student more needy than a person earning the minimum wage?” Glensor asked.
However this view is not shared by all the Regional Councillors.

Councillor Daran Ponter voted against fare increase in June, citing unfairness to students as one of his objections.
He suggested at the time that lowering off-peak fares could be one way to help students and other vulnerable people like those who are unemployed.
Concern about the issue has also been voiced from Parliament, with Labour MP Charles Chauvel calling for a freeze on fares at the time of the increase.
“At a time when people are struggling to make ends meet, for those who rely on public transport to get by, this will be a heavy blow,” Chauvel said.

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  1. Jory says:

    A prefect reply! Thanks for taking the trouble.

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