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Porirua City Council Backs Free Fares Campaign

Porirua City Council has agreed to sign on to the Free Fares campaign, which is encouraging central government to make public transport free for students, under 25s and community services card holders.

The campaign, which is overseen by the Aotearoa Collective for Public Transport Equity, aims to make access to work and tertiary study easier for young people, along with those needing to take buses and trains to work.

Porirua City councillor Josh Trlin told the Te Puna Kōrero committee meeting on Thursday morning that backing this initiative aligns with a number of Council’s strategic priorities.

"Because of how young we are as a city, with 40 per cent aged under 25, we would get a disproportionate benefit. People can get to study and work - it would substantially reduce barriers and have a huge, positive impact on Porirua."

As the campaign is lobbying central government for free fares, there is no cost to Porirua ratepayers.

He found near-unanimous support from his colleagues in tabling a motion to back it - Deputy Mayor Izzy Ford called it a "no-brainer".

"This makes total sense - free transport means better access to education," she said.

Mayor Anita Baker likened it to the free fares that are already offered to people over 65.

"The Gold Card is highly used, so I see no reason why it can’t be done for others too."

The collective has more than 30 organisations from this region and across the country involved, including Victoria University Wellington Students Association, Wellington City Mission and the Public Service Association. A key offshoot of the group’s mission is to cut down car use as more public transport is utilised, leading to less emissions.

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