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August 13, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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VUWSA Vice-President (Welfare)

Cheaper bus fares could be just around the corner for Vic students.

For long the noble student has flailed her way through the financial torrents of university life. Drowning in rent, power and fees amidst a flurry of academic assignments. Heavy with debt and light with malnutrition, our noble student may get a big break this year.

VUWSA, your student association, has been working to secure cheaper transport for students since Adam met Steve. Unfortunately, the Greater Wellington Regional Council has resisted student concessions. Until now that is.

This year, Fran Wilde and her motley crew have put fair fares on the table for consultation, thanks in large part to strong advocacy from your VUWSA Executive and University. In a recent piece of consultation, you said securing cheaper fares was the most important thing we should be doing with local government. You spoke, we listened.

Because of that, for the first time you could have 50 per cent off bus tickets. That’s if you want it. Council’s consultation opens the door to citizens like you and I to make our voices heard. But we have to speak up. You can have your say through our website, Facebook page or the VUW Portal.

There are a few options on the table, and your feedback is crucial.

It’s easy. That’s because the case for student concessions is extensive. Firstly, fair fares will reduce the financial hardship suffered by the great number of our students whose health, diet and study choices are impacted by the high cost of public transport. Our students are struggling. I need not recount here the increasing array of poverty reports and personal stories that suggest this subsidy is required now more than ever.

Beyond the need of students, there exists a strong argument for concessions based on the evidence that shows more students will use public transport if the price drops. This means more students can be safer at night, and out of the rain. This means less potential violence and fewer sickly students with colds. If buses are fuller, the network itself can be more efficient. Some buses are currently running with 1 or 2 passengers. These buses could fill up as students ditch their cars to ride the environmentally friendl[ier] highway.

VUWSA takes your welfare seriously. That’s why we do what we do. And that’s why we’re working hard to secure fair fares. Join us in making this happen!

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