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Free bus rides for young Hamiltonians start this weekend

A new initiative offering free bus travel for Hamilton’s young people kicks off this weekend (6 and 7 July).

At its June meeting, Hamilton City Council voted in favour of a phased approach to introduce youth concessions for the city’s bus network, operated by Waikato Regional Council.

The staged concessions introduction commences this weekend, with people under 18 years old able to use the city’s buses for free on Saturdays and Sundays, and on public holidays.

The Council’s Transport Manager, Jason Harrison, says the move encourages Hamilton’s young people to take advantage of the city’s bus network – enabling them to get around the city without cost.

“Our city has a young population and this new free service ensures they can enjoy what the city has to offer, catch up with friends, and get to places they need to go without relying on family, parents, or friends to get there,” Mr Harrison says.

“By getting young people onto the bus services, we’re reflecting our aim of reducing traffic congestion around the city and ensuring we’re offering a range of transport options for our community.”

Mayor Andrew King says the Council wants to encourage people to use the public transport network offered in the city – a service subsidised by Hamilton’s ratepayers.

“Using the city’s bus service is an environmentally friendly transport option and it also means people don’t need to find parking,” Mayor King says.

“Many residents have told me they want to see more people using the city’s buses, and this helps achieves that.”

The Transit App tells passengers where and when to catch the bus to destinations. Young people using the free service will need to show a school ID or some other proof of age to be issued a free ticket.

The initiative starting this weekend comes with an estimated cost of $50,000, split evenly between the two councils. It is a one-year trial, and applies only to travel within the Hamilton boundaries. Data collected as part of the trial be used to develop a business case for further youth concessions on the city’s bus network.

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