Free public transportation in Wellington is a’real community need.’

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A coalition of 36 organisations is advocating for a trial period of free public transportation in Wellington for college students and community service cards.

Auckland Council will test lower tickets for trains and buses for low-income customers in 2022.

To equal it, the Victoria University Students Association has organised a petition and sent a letter to Minister of Transport Michael Wood, requesting a trial in Wellington.

Grace Carr, the association’s engagement vice-president, told Morning Report that the minister had yet to reply but that she hoped to hear from him soon.

“We’ve seen a real need in the community, especially around students and community service cardholders, for free public transport,” Carr said.

“The cost of living in Wellington is ridiculous and we think this is a real tangible way to make a difference in people’s lives to alleviate some hardship.”

The organisations want the minister to work with the Greater Wellington Regional Council and want a meeting with him to discuss a possible trial and to share their stories.

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The group was proposing the trial for all tertiary students and community service cardholders, Carr said.

“Whilst Auckland is running a 50 percent trial, I think if we give free public transport this would make a good research comparison.

“We are being pushed further and further out of the city, because of the rising cost of rents, people are spending around $30 on public transport a week.

“In general, if you reduce the cost of living, this will really make a big difference for those communities that are marginalised in Wellington.”

She said a lot of people relied on public transport to get across the city.

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