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May 7, 2018 | by  | in News Splash | [ssba]

Fairer Fares Part of Wider Transport Changes

From 15 July 2018, full time tertiary students will receive a 25% discount on public transport services across Wellington. This is part of a greater reworking of the public transport system which is being phased in over the next few months.
The overall upgrade to the public transport fares system will cost $7.8 million dollars, $700,000 of which will be used for the student fares. The cost will be covered by the New Zealand Transport Agency, the ratepayers of the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), and a 3% increase in overall fares price.
VUWSA has been advocating for the discount since 2013, saying that public transport costs can make education inaccessible for many students.
Caprice Seccombe, an architecture student who lives in Upper Hutt, said “every single weekday [I] take the train from Upper Hutt to Wellington [and then bus to campus]. It gets a bit ridiculous really”. She found out about the upcoming change in fares through a flyer being handed to her in the train station, and has been anticipating it ever since. Public transport is essential for her to be able to study, and she added that “I have my Snapper card on me all the time”.
“I have to really limit the amount of times I go Kapiti to see my family, because it’s really expensive. […] I have to carefully budget that,” said Natasha Polglase, another Victoria University student. “[The discount is good] because students probably use public transport a lot.”
According to VUWSA, the stakeholders in the program (including the council and Victoria University) are still figuring out the details of how the fare discount will be rolled out.
There are already some public transport systems designed for students. Currently, VUWSA and Victoria University are partnered to provide free bus passes to students who have classes at both Kelburn and Te Aro on the same day. Seccombe says however that she and others she knows do not use these, because it involves filling out a form online, which is one of those things she never quite gets around to.
These public transport revisions were incorporated into the GWRC’s annual plan last year. Some of the changes will also involve making transport more sustainable. According to the GWRC, buses will be fitted with bike carriers (as is already done in Christchurch), so that bike travel is easier. Justin Lester, Mayor of Wellington, said that “separate to [fare and public transport changes], Wellington is investing $70m over 10 years for improved walking and cycling facilities”. Some of the new buses will be electric, creating an overall 68% decrease in harmful emissions.


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