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Free off-peak Christmas travel for seniors

MEDIA RELEASE

Free off-peak Christmas travel for seniors For immediate release: Friday 28 November 2008.

The Bay of Plenty's older people can take advantage of free off-peak bus travel to visit friends or do their shopping this Christmas.

More than 40,000 older people in the Bay of Plenty are eligible for free travel on off-peak public transport services if they are SuperGold card holders.

Transport Committee Chairman Andrew von Dadelszen said the free travel would enable mature residents to maintain their independence and ease the financial strain of Christmas.

"I urge all SuperGold card holders to take advantage of free off-peak bus services this Christmas and take the stress out of travelling in the busy Christmas period," Mr von Dadelszen said.

Meanwhile the number of older people in the Bay of Plenty travelling by bus has increased significantly.

From Wednesday 1 October, SuperGold Card holders became eligible to travel by bus for free outside of rush hour.

During October, 15, 511 seniors travelled by bus around the region compared to 9029 in September. The biggest increase was in Tauranga where passenger figures increased from 8405 seniors in total in September to 14,877 in October. This was made up of more than 13,185 SuperGold card holders.

The number of seniors on services between Murupara and Rotorua doubled from 60 to 100 seniors and the Katicoach between Katikati and Tauranga also saw an increase from 84 to 125 senior passengers.

Mr von Dadelszen said it was great to see more people using the buses more often.

"I'm pleased to see that overall the passenger figures for seniors are up more than 30%," Mr von Dadelszen said.

Environment Bay of Plenty funds the region's bus services and the SuperGold Card concession is being funded by Central Government to provide SuperGold Card holders with free off-peak travel.

Off-peak hours in the Bay of Plenty are from 9am to 3pm and from 6:30pm to the end of service on weekdays, and any time on weekends and public holidays.

The SuperGold Card is available to all eligible New Zealanders aged 65 years old or older and those under this age who receive the New Zealand Superannuation or the Veterans Pension.

Background

What transport concessions are available to SuperGold Card holders? Card holders will be entitled to free off-peak public transport services within a region.

What times are 'off-peak'? Councils will be funded for SuperGold Card holders who travel between the hours of 9am to 3pm and from 6:30pm to the end of service on weekdays, and any time on weekends and public holidays. Councils may choose to provide free travel outside these hours at their own expense.

How can I get a SuperGold Card? Contact the SuperGold Card Centre on 0800 25 45 65, e-mail info@supergoldgovt.nz or download a copy of an application from www.supergold.govt.nz. You can also apply for a card at any Work and Income Service Centre.

ENDS

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