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Free school buses continue for Tauranga students

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Public Transport Committee chairperson Cr Andrew von Dadelszen. Photo: John Borren.

Tauranga school students will get another year of free bus use following a Bay of Plenty Regional Council Public Transport Committee Meeting last week.

The Tauranga schools fare free trial that commenced on January 27, 2020, and was intended to end on December 18, was established to see whether free fares for students can assist in Tauranga’s traffic congestion.

The committee agreed to extend the free service until December 2021.

Committee chairman Cr Andrew von Dadelszen says In June 2019 there were 46,252 student trips and this increased to 60,280 in June 2020.

“COVID has had a big effect on our bus patronage but it was great to see a 30 per cent jump in use by students year to year,” says von Dadelszen.

Bike racks on Tauranga buses are also seeing a significant increase in usage and von Dadelszen says it shows multi-modal travel, combining cycling with public transport.

“Use of these bike racks has increased by over 60 per cent from July 2019 to June this and supports patronage growth,” says von Dadelszen.

In June 2020 the bike racks were used 790 times compared to 483 times in July 2019.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council also reviewed the SuperGold Card free travel trial period which it has extended until 30 June 2021 on all Bayhopper and Cityride services.

During the trial period eligible card holders, those aged 65-plus, will have free bus travel on the regional network from 9am on weekdays and all day on weekends and public holidays.

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