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It pains me to think about what those who are new to Wellington are feeling right now. I could not sum it up better a student did on Vic Deals: “DO UNI/COURSE STUDENTS NOT GET A STUDENT BUS FARE.”
If you’ve been around for a few years, it must feel like progress on this issue has been going round in circles. And to be honest, it has. The promise of student fares on public transport has been given time and time again.
The average student sentiment can be perfectly summed up in an email I got last week:
“Hello VUWSA. Have the half price bus fares that the mayor promised come through yet and how do we get it?”
The mayor’s support is useful, but he doesn’t make the final decision. Our public transport system is not actually run by the Wellington City Council, or the Mayor, but rather by a lesser-known Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC).
It’s the Councillors sitting around that table who we really need to convince.
But didn’t VUWSA already target them in the local elections last year?
Yes we did, but unfortunately we only gained the support from six Councillors but we needed at least seven. However, all is not lost — the newly elected GWRC is showing interest, and we need to make it clear to them how important this is.
So how can I help?
Very soon, we will need you to make a submission to the GWRC saying how much of a difference a student discount would make to your life. And after you’ve done that, we need your mum, dad, grandma, and neighbour to submit too. If they pay rates, and they know it’s a good idea, then their voice is even more important.
So be ready. This is desperately overdue and it is within our grasp.