A discounted tertiary student bus fare to be trialled during
Orientation Week next year could cost the Otago Regional
Council about $15,000 but it will not mean an increase in
rates, the council says.
It has been working with University of Otago and Otago
Polytechnic student representatives on a way to get more
students, seen as ''untapped patronage'', on buses.
It had been decided to run a two-month trial giving students
a 25% discount on adult cash fares if using a Go Card,
beginning at Orientation Week and ending in April.
Corporate services director Wayne Scott said while operators
were supportive of the trial they wanted to be safeguarded
against any loss in revenue. The council would cover any drop
below an agreed benchmark from its transport reserves.
A rough estimate of the cost to the council of the trial
could be about $10,000 to $15,000, he said.
Promotion of the service and specific operational
requirements were to be finalised in the next few weeks.
Concessions were given to other sectors of society, such as
older users and the disabled, he said.
At the end of the trial, it would be up to the bus operators
if they continued with the discount, Mr Scott said.
Chairman Stephen Woodhead said to put the cost of the trial
in perspective, the council's total transport spending was
about $10 million.
Cr Michael Deaker said the move was exciting, given there
were about 18,000 students in the city who were not regular
There was clear evidence those students did not live in such
a concentrated area as they had in the past, which made
public transport more relevant to them, he said.
If the trial enticed them to use buses, ''it has a real
prospect of improving patronage figures.''
Cr Sam Neill said the trial was long overdue but there needed
to be a massive programme to educate students on the services
Cr Bryan Scott said it was positive the council was giving
this a go.