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Published: 2010-06-04 00:00:00

A total of five Environment Waikato councillors ended up voting for increased fares to cover the full cost of introducing two new buses to help ease congestion on the crowded Orbiter route from the start of the 2011 school year.

During annual plan deliberations on Wednesday, councillors agreed to the spending of more than an extra $120,000 on providing the two buses.

The decision follows significant overcrowding problems involving school children on the Orbiter’s before and after school services.

A majority of councillors agreed the extra spending would be funded by raising the child concession fare from $1.30 to $1.50 and increasing Hamilton passenger transport rates by an extra 26 cents per $100,000 of capital value.

A minority of four councilors from the council’s Rates Control team voted for the increased costs to be funded entirely from fare increases. That would have seen the child concession fare rise to $1.61.

Yesterday, during voting to confirm the previous day’s decision, EW chairman Peter Buckley voted with the Rates Control team, bringing to five the number of councillors who favoured that option. "I reconsidered my position and voted that way to try to keep down the overall rate of increase for rates next year," Cr Buckley said.

However, the majority of councillors agreed to stick with the increase being met by a mixture of increasing fares to $1.50 and the extra 26 cents per $100,000 of capital value in rates.