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UCSA President Kim Fowler said the proposed discount will be considered by Environment Canterbury at the end of September.
Once 18, people are required to pay adult bus fares on public buses – which in Christchurch equates to a minimum of $2.65 with a Metrocard, or $3.85 travelling from Rolleston or Rangiora, for example.
The proposed discount would lower the cost of a short trip for students to $1.50 within the city and $2.15 further afield.
As of noon on Monday, 178 people had signed the petition on change.org.
Fowler said the bus discount would provide freedom for many students who can’t access public transport due to the high costs.
"Many Canterbury students live on a limited income of around $240 per week, with some spending from $20 to $50 per week on bus trips and struggling to cover other living costs.
"This bus discount could transform their lives, while helping to reduce the congestion and parking issues around the university.
"It also has the potential to attract more students to visit and live in the central city."
A recent UCSA survey showed 98 per cent of Canterbury University students support the discount, with 58 per cent who currently drive saying they would catch a bus more frequently if it was cheaper.
"Students care about the environment. They want to bus but they can’t they due to the high cost," Fowler said.
"A bus discount would help to build a culture of life-long public transport use."
ECan councillor Vicky Southworth, Ilam MP Sarah Pallett and Ilam and Upper Riccarton Residents’ Association chairman John Reddiford support the proposal.
Southworth said the discount aims to get more Cantabrians out of cars.
"Transport is one of the biggest contributors to climate-changing greenhouse gases in our city.
"One way to reduce those emissions is to support price sensitive groups onto our buses. The advantage being that it’s a quick change that makes use of current available seats," Southworth said.
Pallett said this discount made sense as it would make bus use more accessible.
"I’m happy to support an initiative that not only benefits students and the environment but also supports a reduction in congestion on our already busy residential streets."
Said John Reddiford: "It’s important to look at this issue as it concerns me that seat occupancy rate on buses near the university is low. We need to get students to use buses from a young age, so that they see buses as the transport option of choice. And being an Ilam resident, we need to reduce the dependency on cars and thus reduce the number of car parks taken."
The UCSA petition calling on Environment Canterbury to implement a fare reduction for students can be found here.