News release from Greater Wellington Regional Council
The Regional Council is to consider offering tertiary students a 25% discount off peak public transport fares, dependent on substantial financial support from the Wellington City Council and the tertiary education institutions in the region.
Ken Laban, a Regional Councillor representing Hutt City, put the motion – which was passed unanimously – today to the Annual Plan hearing committee deliberating on public submissions on the draft Regional Public Transport Plan.
“Offering this discount gives us an opportunity to get thousands of students, who drive to tertiary institutions because it’s cheaper than taking the bus or train at peak hour, out of their cars and on to public transport,” says Cr Laban.
Fran Wilde, Chair of the Regional Council, says tertiary students are particularly important to Wellington City. “They contribute significantly to the city’s economy and they help create the unique vibrancy of Wellington. Wellington City Council indicated at the recent hearings on the Regional Public Transport Plan that they would be open to supporting discounted fares so we’re keen to test out that commitment.
“And of course all the tertiary institutions in Wellington have an interest in students’ welfare. Other institutions around the country subsidise public transport for students so we need to talk to institutions here to see what kind of support they’d be prepared to give.
“There’s a lot of work to do before this idea gets off the ground and we’re not making any promises but I’m hopeful the other organisations will come to the party. They will need to make a substantial contribution – as a Regional Council we can’t give students a discount at the expense of all ratepayers and other equally deserving people in the community, particularly those on low incomes.”
The new plan already includes a 25% discount on off peak fares and half price fares for children and young adults aged from five to 18 or until they leave secondary school if that is later. This would increase young people’s eligibility age from 15 to 18.