Student bus fare trial continuing

A decision on the future of the student fare discount for Dunedin's buses will be made soon, but in the meantime the discount will continue.

The Otago Regional Council, along with the student associations of the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, initiated a trial of a 25% discount on fares which started in Orientation Week and ended yesterday.

As part of the trial, students of both organisations and Aoraki Polytechnic also received a free GoCard as an incentive.

While final figures on the success of the trial were not yet known, earlier indications were that uptake of the discount fare was positive, with an estimated average of 6000 trips a week taken by students during the first six weeks of the trial.

Council corporate services director Wayne Scott said once the data was in, the council would talk to bus operators to see whether continuing the service was commercially viable.

''We need to sit down and decide if it met the objectives of the trial.''

The council was ''delighted'' with the use students had made of the service but the issue was whether that converted into commercial reality, he said.

A decision would be made as soon as possible and, in the meantime, the discount would continue.

Otago University Students' Association president Ruby Sycamore-Smith said that from the feedback the association had received, there was demand for the discount fare.

There continued to be approaches for the GoCards and students were using the buses.

''We hope the system continues in the long run, but realise it depends on how the ORC views the usage.''

The fact the council was continuing the trial until a decision was made was a great ''strategic'' decision, she said.rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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