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August 2, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Vice-President (Welfare)

Executive column

For many of us public transport is a daily reality. So is living week-to-week on a student loan or allowance or the meager earning from some part time work.

That’s why the removal of the monthly $99 Gold Pass and increasing all bus fares will only further increase the barriers people face accessing their education.

When announcing the changes NZ Bus, (owners of Go Wellington) said “we accept that a small number of customers may have an increase in the cost of their travel.”

45% of students at Victoria use public transport on a regular basis. That’s not a small number, and they will have an increase in their cost of travel. We’re a captive market and Go Wellington is exploiting that.

Students living in Zone 3 – suburbs like Karori, Island Bay, or Kilbirnie will pay $254 a month, (over 150% more) if they make three trips per day over a week (e.g. home to VUW, then to work, and then home five days per week) and two return fares on the weekend to town.

Those living in Zone 2 – suburbs like Newtown, and Mt Cook will pay $137.76 per month (a 39% increase) if you make return trips to Victoria during the week and go to town twice during the weekend.

How can NZ Bus stand by its comments when students are going to be hit with increases like the above? Our level of service will remain the same. Their drivers will still be paid slightly above minimum wage. Apparently it’s “just our turn” for a fare increase.

VUWSA strongly believes that tertiary students should be recognised as “transport dependent” and as such have access to concession fares that reflect our reliance on public transport, our unique financial, and living situations.

Astonishingly, tertiary students weren’t mentioned once in the Regional Council’s recent Public Transport Plan (manage contract with NZ Bus). The plan failed to recognise that there are students beyond secondary school – often in a considerably worse financial position and lacking the equivalent supportive environment than those receiving current concession fares.

The increase is disproportionate to increases in GST and the cost of living. NZ Bus has shown utter disdain to all students. They have the technology to introduce concession fares for tertiary students. Yet NZ Bus continues to enjoy a considerable monopoly, annual increases in users and company profits.

It’s about time they show some respect to students and take us for a better ride. Keep an eye out for more on this issue in the coming week.

Seamus Brady, Vice President (Welfare),
wvp@vuwsa.org.nz.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Chris Renwick says:

    Type here…

  2. Chris Renwick says:

    As the only gold card user who turned up on June 29 to ask the WRC to oppose the deletion of the Gold Card by NZ Bus it is good to see you taking a stance on the issue. The problem is what we can do to fight it here’s a couple of suggestions – first tell anybody who has shares in the owner of NZ Bus Infrantil about what is happening and why it is bad and secondly remember that this is Election year and support WRC Candidates who support Public Transport and are willing to tell the Bus Company that they need to offer a reasonable Monthly Bus Pass for their regular users including university students.

  3. Punctuation says:

    Why do you hate me Chris? Why?

  4. Chris Renwick says:

    Given that I don’t know who you are? Why would I hate you apart from this conversation doesn’t appear to be anything to do with the topic under discussion and yes I was the only Gold Card Monthly Pass Holder there on June 29.

  5. smackdown says:

    looks like that’s not the only bus you missed chris

    ahaha owned

  6. booyakasha says:

    TROLOLOLOLOL

  7. smackdown says:

    don’t spam

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