People are being encouraged to have their say on bus fares in Tauranga.
Submissions are currently open for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Long Term Plan, with flat bus fares, free fares for community card holders and making the fare free trial for Tauranga schools permanent all up for discussion.
A statement on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council website says there are several reasons which prompted bus fares to be included in the LTP.
“In September 2019, the Public Transport Committee approved the scope for a Regional Fare Review with goals of increasing patronage, reducing CO2 emissions, providing equitable transport, and encouraging mode shift.”
There is already a trial in place with free fares for Tauranga school students, which began in January last year.
It was established to see whether free fares for students can assist in Tauranga’s traffic congestion.
In August, Bay of Plenty Regional Council public transport committee chairman Andrew von Dadelszen said more students had been able to use the service since the trial started.
“Covid has had a big effect on our bus patronage, but it’s great to see a 30 per cent jump in use by students year to year.”
According to the BOPRC website, in August alone, more than 70,000 trips were made as part of the trial.
An additional, 21,000 trips were made as part of the tertiary free fares trial.
Both trials will run until December this year.
There are two options available for school children; free fares only at arrival and departure times, 7am-9am and 3pm-6pm, this would increase rates by 11.4 per cent, or $10.83 in Tauranga, or free fares at all times which would equate to a 13.9 per cent increase in rates.
Free fares for tertiary students would mean an increase in rates of 15.8 per cent.
Making bus trips free for community service card holders would see an increase in rates of 5.6 per cent, or $6.35 for Tauranga properties.
Finally, introducing a flat rate for buses would mean rates would increase by 33.9 per cent or nearly $26 for Tauranga properties.
Fares would be $2 with a Bee card or cash $3.