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Student fare for Tauranga buses confirmed

Student fare for Tauranga buses confirmed

Plans for next year’s Schoolhopper bus services are taking shape with fares being finalised and routes to be announced soon.

From next year the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Schoolhopper service will replace the bulk of the Ministry of Education’s Tauranga school bus services. This is because a large number of students will no longer meet the Ministry’s school transport eligibility criteria.

At this week’s Council meeting a student fare of $1.15 for concessionary travel and $1.60 for cash fares for next year was approved.

Chair of the Public Transport Subcommittee Lyall Thurston said the fares will apply to all school students travelling to and from school on Schoolhopper or Bayhopper buses in the city

“The cost of providing the service will be shared between bus users through their fare, NZ Transport Agency and Bay of Plenty Regional Council ratepayers,” Mr Thurston said. “We’ve received funding of $1 million a year for the next three years from NZ Transport Agency which will help to keep fares as low as possible.”

He said staff had also been discussing other options to help reduce the impact the fare might have on low-income families.

“We recognise it will be difficult for some families, however we’re currently working with Work and Income NZ on a process to allow Tauranga beneficiaries to pay for bus travel using an advance on their benefit. This approach is already used for other school costs, such as purchasing school uniforms.”

However Mr Thurston said the reduction would benefit some student bus users as the fare would also be introduced on Bayhopper buses in the city.

“This means that students who use the Tauranga Bayhopper network to get to and from school each day will have a fare reduction from $1.80 to $1.60 or from $1.44 to $1.15 if they use their Smartride card.

He said the next step for the Schoolhopper service will be to inform school communities of the Schoolhopper routes. They will soon know which routes will be discontinued by the Ministry of Education. The Schoolhopper services are being designed to respond to those changes.

Not all Tauranga school bus routes are impacted by the change. Information will soon be available on the Baybus website (www.baybus.co.nz) with more detailed routes.

ends

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