JOINT MEDIA RELEASE:University of Waikato students will get a 30 per cent discount on adult BUSIT fares in a new agreement just signed with Waikato Regional Council.
It is expected the 12-month trial offer will take effect by 1 February next year, regional councillors agreed during today’s finance committee meeting. The decision is due to be ratified by council at its meeting on Thursday 25 August.
The discounted fares will be available to all University of Waikato students paying with a BUSIT card and travelling on any of the regional council’s buses into and out of Hamilton, or within the city. That means a university student on a Hamilton bus will pay just $1.70 – down from the $3.30 adult cash fare and 30 per cent less than a $2.40 adult BUSIT card rate.
The university will fund the scheme from some of the income from the introduction of paid parking on the Hamilton campus this year.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley said paid parking was introduced to alleviate pressure on land, and to ensure the university is being as sustainable as possible. “I promised students we would investigate the possibilities of funding sustainable travel, so I’m very pleased with this outcome. I congratulate the regional council for working with us to make travel easier and cost-effective for our students.”
Regional council chief executive, Vaughan Payne, said: “We’re excited to be able to provide university students with discounted fares, we know it’s something they’ve wanted for a long time.
“Statistics show that our bus services are already being used by a large number of students – in March there were more than 11,000 passenger boardings at university bus stops. It’s also estimated that around 6 per cent of all bus trips in Hamilton in March were for travel to and from the university.
“So we expect this agreement with the university to make bus travel an even more affordable option for students,” Mr Payne said.
He added that council staff would work with other tertiary education providers in Hamilton to discuss a similar scheme, but third party funding would be needed to offset costs.
How the region’s bus service is funded
The region’s public bus service costs Waikato Regional Council about $23 million a year. Less than 40 per cent of that cost is covered by fares, with the rest paid for by regional council ratepayers and the New Zealand Transport Agency.