With the Auckland Council announcing cut price fares for trains and buses for people on low incomes, it now appears tertiary students might be next.
Planning Committee chairman Chris Darby said the fare concessions the council has already given under 16s had been a success and last week’s announcement of a three-year trial starting in 2022 with reduced fares for low income earners was continuing the good work.
But he said the council could not stop there and the next proposal would be to extend the fare cuts to include more for tertiary students.
“We know taking public transport is a financial burden for people who aren’t working, or they are training or studying,” Darby said.
“And our focus is to make public transport more affordable for those people. So that’s still on the radar for us to address.”
Currently tertiary students using an AT HOP card get a 20 per cent discount on most fares and it applies to most public transport services, except SkyBus, tertiary shuttles and some ferry services.
Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) student council president Micah Sili welcomed any new cuts and said she was keen to see what Auckland Council and AT could come up with.
Sili said the existing tertiary fares scheme is currently restricted to full-time students only.
“This, in turn, has limited many of our students who study part-time, or are doing fees free trades training, or distance learning from qualifying for the concession card.”
But she said the cut price fares announced by the Auckland Council last week for low income earners would also help a lot of students in south Auckland.
“A lot of our students are from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds. The Community Connect scheme will alleviate part of that issue by offering a 50 per cent discount for Community Services Card holders and will aid our students in accessing their education and attending classes.”
Last week Auckland mayor Phil Goff and Transport Minister Michael Wood announced a pilot scheme offering people on low incomes in the city 50 percent off all fares on trains and buses.
The Community Connect initiative was outlined as part of the latest update of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), which will provide $31.4 billion in funding for transport projects in the city over the next 10 years.
The scheme will start next year and will give 200,000 low-income earners a 50 percent reduction in fares on all trips by train and bus. The pilot is expected to cost $30 million and be funded equally by the government and Auckland Council.
Goff said South Auckland had more to gain from the scheme than any other part of Auckland.
Local Democracy Reporting