Press Release – VUWSA
More than 1700 people from throughout the Wellington region have put their support behind the push for Fairer Fares.
The Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) has led the campaign to get a 50% discount for tertiary students on all Wellington regional public transport, by lobbying to get the initiative included in the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) Annual Plan 2017/18.
Submissions to the GWRC draft Annual Plan 2017/18 closed on Wednesday, April 12 and between VUWSA’s physical submission forms and submission website – fairerfares.org – more than 1700 students, ratepayers, politicians, community leaders, and members of the public signed their names in support of including a tertiary concession from next year.
VUWSA president Rory Lenihan-Ikin says the overwhelming support from across all demographics has surpassed his expectations for this campaign.
“When the council has previously shut down this idea, one of the reasons they used is that ratepayers don’t want to subsidise one particular group of users.
“But as we’ve gone out and consulted with the community we’ve found that that’s not the case. In fact, of a lot of Wellingtonians were under the impression tertiary students already had access to a discount.”
Throughout the submission process, stories have flooded in around why high public transport costs are a barrier for students wanting to seek tertiary education in the capital.
“One lecturer said their class numbers were steadily declining each year and high living costs was a key factor in lower attendance,” he said.
High school students from all over the region have expressed their concern about jumping from half price to full price fares without having a way to find that extra money and tertiary students have talked about how the benefit of a half price could mean they can afford extra groceries, or a day off from study and part-time work to rest.
“What this proves is that having fairer fares isn’t about just getting something for cheap, it’s contributing to quality of life for students and the ability for them to actually focus on what they’re in Wellington to do – which is study,” Lenihan-Ikin says.
The council has said in its draft Annual Plan they will “consider” a tertiary fare in 2018, but VUWSA’s hope is that the overwhelming public support for this issue will convince councillors to vote for a tertiary concession to begin from 2018.