Dunedin first to get free senior travel

Dunedin could be one of the first areas to implement the Government's promised SuperGold Card free off-peak public transport initiative for people over the age of 65.

Earlier this year, Associate Minister for Senior Citizens Winston Peters announced all SuperGold Card holders would be provided with free off-peak travel on public transport.

Recently, information had been provided showing the target introduction date was October 1, the proposed reimbursement rate to public transport operators was 75% of the average adult fare and off-peak times were 9am-3pm and 6.30pm until end of service.

The Otago Regional Council's finance and corporate committee yesterday considered a report which suggested the October 1 target date could be achievable in Dunedin, although it would not be possible in most regions.

"We think our system can do it, if we wish to," corporate services director Wayne Scott said.

However, the council would need to do further investigations and get clarification of the programme from government agencies, he said.

There was concern the $18 million set aside for the initiative might not be enough.

Cr Michael Deaker said it was an exciting initiative and another opportunity to show how Otago did things quicker and better.

It would also get more people on buses, he said.

Chief executive Graeme Martin said the initiative must be cost neutral to the council and there needed to be some safeguard so the council was not held responsible if the scheme was terminated.


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