Welcome Bay free school bus trial

A school bus trial to establish whether free fares for students can assist in reducing Tauranga’s traffic congestion begins at the start of Term One for Welcome Bay students. The trial which will run for the 2019 school year is being led by Bay of Plenty Regional Council with cooperation from Tauranga City Council, NZ Transport Agency and the Ministry of Education.

Regional Council Public Transport Committee Chairman Lyall Thurston says the limited access points in and out of Welcome Bay, location of schools and existing bus-use make Welcome Bay an ideal location for a trial. Trialling free school bus services on a route known for congestion will provide clear information regarding the impact of the trial on traffic flows,” Cr Thurston says. “The trial if successful may alleviate some of this in the short term.”

Tauranga schools report 724 students living in the Welcome Bay area with between 250 and 300 using school buses.

Some of the routes will have two buses running on them and students only need to be in school uniform to get access to the free service, no special passes or tickets are required.

Start dates for the Welcome free school bus trial are below. Only students accessing these routes from Welcome Bay will be able to travel free.

  • 704 – Aquinas College.  Starts Wednesday 30 January.
  • 720 – Mt College & Intermediate.  Starts Monday 4 February.
  • 803 – Tauranga Intermediate, Tauranga Girl’s College, Tauranga Boy’s College and St Mary’s.  Starts Monday 4 February.
  • 804 – Tauranga Intermediate. Starts Monday 4 February.
  • 805 – Tauranga Intermediate.  Starts Monday 4 February.
  • 811 – Bethlehem College.  Starts Wednesday 30 January.
  • 901 – Tauranga Girls’ College.  Starts Friday 1 February.
  • 902 – Tauranga Boys’ College.  Starts Thursday 7 February.
  • 904 – Otumoetai College/Intermediate.  Starts Monday 4 February.

In order to provide additional capacity a further three buses have been added.  These buses are blue and like the yellow buses the display on the front will show the word SCHOOL, route number, with the names of the schools scrolling underneath.