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March 19, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Bussed Up

“The Council Cocked Up”

Wellington Regional Councilor Daran Ponter minced no words last Tuesday when VUWSA hosted a forum for the discussion of Metlink’s review of Wellington’s bus routes.

The forum, attended by around ten people, was hosted as an opportunity for the council to strengthen lines of communication towards the public and to field questions raised by students.

One point of discussion included the possibility of student fares being introduced along the networks—an idea which saw a Facebook petition receive over 6000 ‘likes’ in support last year.

“It is illogical to have a children’s fare but not a student one, when both aren’t making much money,” Ponter said.

He explained that currently the main issues with bus services are duplicated routes and insufficient supply. Proposals to address this could see the elimination of the widely-used ‘Route 18’.

“To remove duplication they’ve implemented single routes,” he said.

That efficiency would, however, come at the cost of the inter-campus buses.

“I don’t really have a defence for that,” he said. “I do have a problem with [the proposed] Route C.”

Another student claimed that the routes were too focused on trimming numbers, leaving women’s safety as an issue, particularly at night-time.

Mr Ponter said that safe transport hubs would be placed throughout the city, but doubted their effectiveness. VUWSA Vice-President (Welfare) Ta’ase Vaoga said VUWSA will be entering a submission.

“We need students to be more active in discussing these issues or it will be too late,” she said.

Mr Ponter said that he feels the review may leave students hard-done by.

“I’m skeptical of whether it can serve students,” he said.

“We need to have that discussion, it’s not just with students, but there are big equity issues.”

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