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Celebrate your golden years with free bus travel

Celebrate your golden years with free bus travel

For immediate release: 23 May 2008

Environment Bay of Plenty is striving to become the one of the first regional councils in New Zealand to offer free off peak bus travel for over 65s.

In April, Associate Minister for Senior Citizens Winston Peters announced plans to introduce an extension to the SuperGold Card, for over 65-year-olds, which would offer transport concessions.

Yesterday’s budget confirmed funding for free off-peak travel for older passengers.

Since Mr Peters’ announcement regional council staff have been pulling out all the stops to ensure 38,000 older residents in the Bay of Plenty can enjoy free bus travel from around October.

The scheme will be funded by central government and Ministry of Transport has already ring-fenced funding for the transport concessions. It is now working out the practical details of introducing it to the regions

Environment Bay of Plenty’s transport planners are working with the Ministry of Transport and doing all they can to support the process.

Regional Land Transport Committee Chairman Andrew von Dadelszen said the council was committed to reducing fares for mature travellers.

“Sixties are the new forties. Many of our over 65-year-olds are still fit, active and work part-time or undertake voluntary work. From around October they will be able commute to work outside of peak hours for free and experience the difference this makes to their bank balance and the environment,” said Mr von Dadelszen.

ENDS

Background

The SuperGold card, launched last year, gives superannuitants access to discounts from 3960 business outlets. Over half a million people in New Zealand have SuperGold cards. Those over 65, receiving superannuation or a veteran's pension are eligible for them.

Environment Bay of Plenty funds the region’s bus services.

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