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Students encouraged by public transport poll

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Students encouraged by poll revealing public transport support

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) has welcomed the results from a recent poll, indicating support for public transport over roads had risen from 25 per cent in 1992 to 48 per cent amongst New Zealanders.

VUWSA President, Rory McCourt said that the poll, conducted by research firm UMR, shows there is wide community support for local and central government to increase funding for public transport over roading projects.

“Clearly the public backs our buses and trains. It’s time the politicians did too. We could start by making public transport more affordable. We think student fares would be a great start,” said McCourt.

McCourt said that he was concerned increased rents had pushed students to move further and further away from campus, and increased bus fares were leaving those students with few choices to make their weekly budgets work.

“Our vision for Wellington is to create a city that everyone can be a part of, where a bus ticket isn’t a big barrier to coming to class. Right now, it’s a barrier when some of our students are spending $100 a week on transport plus all the other costs ­– rent, power, and text books,” said McCourt.

VUWSA’s Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer, Rick Zwaan said that the poll was encouraging ahead of the launch of the Student Association’s ‘Get on Board’ campaign for affordable public transport for Wellington students, and showed that the Government’s transport priorities were out of touch with most New Zealanders.

“Only 10 per cent of the Government’s transport budget currently goes to public transport, while about $3.4b has been allocated to controversial new highways. We think that’s a poor use of funds considering the sizable support for more and cheaper buses and trains.

“It’s clear people don’t support more tax-payer money being spent on expensive new roads; it’s time Gerry Brownlee got on board with the New Zealand public and lowered the cost of public transport,” said Zwaan.


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