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Students Grateful for Relief on Buses

Students Grateful for Relief on Buses

ORC announced their 25% student discount on buses will become permanent this week. For some students this discount has literally meant not having to skip classes because they can’t afford transport.

Otago Regional Council recently held a trial discount period giving Dunedin tertiary students a 25% discount (when using a GoCard and current student ID), after a decade of lobbying from students’ associations.

OPSA commends the Otago Regional Council’s decision to make this student discount permanent on Dunedin’s buses to help boost bus patronage and address access issues that have concerned OPSA.

Students who regularly use buses were spending 18% of their income on their basic transport just to get to campus and home (2013 OPSA Transport & Housing Survey).

“Students who use buses were spending almost 20% of their income on just ten rides a week” said OPSA president, Rebecca Swindells.

“Many Polytechnic students don’t live in North Dunedin, and expensive fares are a real barrier to using the bus – it wasn’t unheard of for some students to have to skip classes because they can’t afford the fare” said Swindells.

“While not as high as discounts in other regions it has helped decrease this barrier to using buses, and students are rapt – we’ve had a lot of positive feedback” reports Swindells.

The discount saves students who use buses regularly around $10 to $15 a week. Students from Mosgiel or who need to travel multiple routes to get to campus save considerably more. This is a significant amount when you’re living on less than $170 a week.

Students have reported that in real terms this discount means: they can live in areas with better housing than North Dunedin, they have more money to spend on food, they no longer have to miss some classes, and some students now bus instead of driving.

Price is only half the battle of increasing patronage; OPSA also commends the ORC’s proactive role in improving the bus system, such as the new on-line timetable. OPSA encourages students to make use of the 25% discount – bus services are only getting better in Dunedin.

ends

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