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Greens pledge free off-peak public transport for students

5 August 2014

Greens pledge free off-peak public transport for tertiary students

The Green Party today launched its plan to deliver free off-peak public transport for tertiary students.

The plan is the second component of the Green Party's economic priority this election: Building a smarter greener economy that really works for all New Zealanders.

The key policy points in the Green Party's plan for free off-peak transport for tertiary students are:

1. All tertiary students and apprentices will get free off-peak travel on buses, trains, and ferries with a Student Green Card. All students attending universities, wānanga, polytechnics and Private Training Establishments, as well as those training through New Zealand Apprenticeships, will be eligible for the Green Card.
2. This will benefit up to 325,000 tertiary students, as well as approximately 28,000 people training under the New Zealand Apprenticeship scheme.
3. Off-peak travel will be free between the hours of 9am and 3pm, and from 6.30pm until the end of service on weekdays. It also covers all weekends and public holidays.
4. The Student Green Card will cost between $20 million-30 million per year. The costings are based on an increase in trips of 30 percent in response to the free travel on the Green Card, and would cost the Crown between $1.70-$2.20 per passenger trip. This will be funded by re-prioritised spending from the National Land Transport Fund.

“The Green Card will reduce the cost of transport for students. It is an investment in students and education, and will help to reduce their costs of living,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“The Green Card is a smart investment. For less than the cost of one kilometre of one of National’s motorway projects, we can provide all tertiary students and apprentices with free off-peak public transport.

“Making transport affordable for those in education and training is a smart solution to the financial pressures facing students, as well as encouraging better transport choices amongst a large sector of society.

“Research from 2011 found 67 percent of students were spending money on public transport, with an average spend of $35.40 per week. In Auckland, tertiary students were spending an average of $40.50 per week.

“Students are facing rising living cost pressures; transport, food, power, rent, but often have very restricted income. The Student Green Card is a way of helping to reduce costs to help students make ends meet.

“A Student Green Card will encourage smarter transport use and ease congestion for all travellers. It will help to shift cars off our roads, while making lower income students more mobile.

“This is an idea that works. The Palmerston North free bus scheme, which has been in place since 2004, has resulted in a 38 percent rise in student patronage of buses, and car journeys have dropped by more than half since it started.

“By increasing student patronage on our public transport network, we can cost-effectively provide improved services for everyone. As more people take the bus or train throughout the day, we can increase the number of services, which in turn will make public transport a convenient option for even more people.

“The Student Green Card will also help the environment. A well utilised public transport system is a vastly more efficient way to get around, and one that improves air quality and reduces carbon emissions,” Dr Norman said.

ENDS

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