Offers for free buses to Christchurch, cheaper fares for both shot down students

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Christchurch higher education students will not yet receive a student discount on the bus (file photo).

STACY SQUIRES / Tricks

Christchurch higher education students will not yet receive a student discount on the bus (file photo).

All Cantabrians under the age of 19 will now benefit from cheaper buses and the public will have their say in a range of new public transport options – but two popular proposals have failed to overcome a significant hurdle.

Canterbury’s Environment Councilors (ECan) voted Thursday on a series of major public transport decisions proposed by the councilors – including whether to consult on the two-year free public transport trial and whether public transport fares for students must be reduced.

All were aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of transport. In Greater Christchurch, transportation created the lion’s share of emissions at 54 percent, while households and buildings created 19 percent and agriculture 15.3 percent.

Councilors voted to increase the age of the child rate to cover everyone up to 19.

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President Jenny Hughey said that currently people cease to be eligible for child fares when they turn 18, whether or not they are still in school.

“[It’s] potentially inadvertently encouraging them to get into the cars and certainly costing them adult fares to get to [or] of their place of study.

The new rate will be available before the next school year.

A popular amendment to test a reduction for higher education students in time for the new academic year ended in a tie, meaning it was not passed. The board’s chief executive said it would put too much pressure on staff to get the system ready on time.

Canterbury's environmental advisers voted on Thursday on a range of public transport proposals.

George Heard / Stuff

Canterbury’s environmental advisers voted on Thursday on a range of public transport proposals.

Councilor Vicky Southworth, who had championed the cause, said she was shocked by the outcome.

“To meet the climate challenge, we need to get people off the road quickly, and we have this community of student volunteers. We could have prioritized that.

Councilors also voted to gauge public opinion on a range of other public transport options, including testing a reduction for higher education students, creating a larger suburban area of ​​Christchurch with a bus fare flat rate of $ 2 or $ 3 and testing free public transport for those under 25.

A motion by Councilors Megan Hands and Lan Pham to include the free tariff trial was defeated.

The presidents of the University of Canterbury (UCSA) and the Lincoln University Students’ Association (LUSA) handed over a 2,000-signature petition in favor of cheaper rates for higher education students.

UCSA President Kim Fowler said the students wanted to do the right thing for the planet, but many were living on $ 240 a week and maybe only had $ 20 left for things like transportation.

“It could take cars off the road, which would help reduce traffic jams… It could also attract more of our students to the city center. “

LUSA President Gregory Fleming said Christchurch was one of the few college towns without a public transport subsidy for students.

“Anything we can do to promote student access to education is great for our society… [helping] ensure that skilled workers enter the labor market.

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Transport Minister Michael Wood speaks during the release of the Ministry of Transport Green Paper (first published May 14, 2021).

“You not only have the support of us, but the support of our institutions [who are] determined to achieve their climate goals.

Robin Nuttall, speaking on behalf of the University of Canterbury leadership team, said many students used a car because it was cheaper, but a university survey found 40% would change the way they drive. transport with a reduction.

“The University of Canterbury is inundated with cars on a daily basis… This is obviously very bad for the university and the city’s carbon footprint.[s]. “

Councilor Mike Davidson, chair of the council's urban development and transportation committee, is in favor of improving the city's transit system.  (File photo)

LAUREN MENTJOX / SUPPLIED

Councilor Mike Davidson, chair of the council’s urban development and transportation committee, is in favor of improving the city’s transit system. (File photo)

The university was not necessarily against discussions about cost sharing, she said.

Christchurch City Councilor Mike Davidson, who is also chairman of his Urban Development and Transport Committee, said he didn’t think ECan’s current group of councilors were bold enough.

“We know that ground transport is our biggest emitter… we cannot underestimate how important it is to help run public transport.


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