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UCSA launches petition in support of “transformational” bus discount for Canterbury Students

MEDIA STATEMENT

20 September 2021

 

UCSA launches petition in support of “transformational” bus discount for Canterbury Students

The University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) today launched a petition to garner public support for its proposal to transform the lives of hundreds of Canterbury students through a simple bus discount.

The proposed discount will be considered by Environment Canterbury at the end of September.

Once 18, people are required to pay adult bus fares – 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 from further afield.

UCSA President Kim Fowler says the bus discount promises freedom for many students who can’t access public transport due to the high cost.

“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,” says Kim Fowler.

A recent UCSA survey showed 98% per cent of Canterbury University students are in support of the discount, with 58 per cent who currently drive saying they would 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. A bus discount would help to build a culture of life-long public transport use.”
The proposal has the support of Environment Canterbury Councillor Vicky Southworth, along with Ilam MP Sarah Pallett and John Reddiford, Chair of the Ilam and Upper Riccarton Residents’ Association.

Councillor Vicky Southworth says the bus 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.”

Ilam MP Sarah Pallett says this discount makes sense as it would make bus use more accessible to a group best placed to use the current bus service as it is.

“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.”

Chair of the Ilam and Upper Riccarton Resident’s association John Reddiford says, “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.”

UCSA’s petition can be found here.

Ends.

Contact: Kim Fowler, UCSA President
022 344 1235
president@ucsa.org.nz

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