Fare-free school bus trial given green light by Regional Council

A one-year trial in 2020 of fare-free bus transport for Tauranga school students has been adopted as part of Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Annual Plan 2019/20.

Transport was one of the key focus areas of consultation on the Annual Plan, with Councillors also agreeing to progress a trial in 2020 of services to help tertiary students and commuters travel between Whakatāne, Rotorua, Katikati and Tauranga.

In addition, the living wage will be extended to Rotorua and Eastern Bay bus operators. To focus on older people SuperGold Card holders will soon be able to travel for free for extended periods each day as part of another trial.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair Doug Leeder said he expects the transport trials will provide some solid information for staff to use when the decision of whether or not to continue the trials on a permanent basis comes back to Council.

“The deliberations highlighted the importance of the role Passenger Transport has in the region, and that we need to be getting it right to ensure the people that require it most have ready access to it,” he said.

The transport initiatives will primarily be funded through targeted rates, meaning that those who are likely to benefit from the services will pay.