On the Move

Free buses for people with disabilities endorsed, free for youth discussed

Hamilton City Council has resolved to endorse a proposal for free public transport for people with disabilities in the Waikato and supported seeking a business case for free buses for Under-18s in Hamilton.

The two items were considered as part of Hamilton Mayor Andrew King’s Chair’s Report at yesterday’s Council meeting.

Mayor King says community feedback has made it clear the Disability Concession would support quality of life improvements for people with disabilities who rely on public transport.

“I’m delighted the Council has endorsed this proposal, which could literally change lives for some of our residents,” Mayor King says.

“I’m also proud our Council is supporting a potential study into free buses for youth in our city. This could be a gamechanger, and it could change the way we look at public transport in New Zealand.

“Hamilton’s growing all the time, which is great but it’s also putting more pressure on our roads. We need to think differently about how our people get around our city,” Mayor King says.

“This is not just about addressing congestion now, this is about creating an environment where today’s young people start to see public transport as a natural part of their lives. We have all experienced the difference in the city’s roads during school holidays, but we need to have really good information about the benefits and costs of a free service for Under-18s.”

“We have asked the Waikato Regional Council to consider funding a business case to look at free buses for Under-18s, and we’ve said we will contribute $25,000 towards the expected cost of the study,” Mayor King says.

Waikato Regional Council is responsible for contracting and providing bus services in Hamilton and for some of the region’s communities.

The proposed Disability Concession was put forward at the Waikato Regional Public Transport Plan Hearing Committee deliberations on 18 October 2018. The resolution by Hamilton City Council endorses the proposed 100% concession.

The free youth fares business case proposal was a recommendation from the 23 October 2018 Hamilton City Council Growth and Infrastructure Committee – yesterday’s decision endorsed that request to the Waikato Regional Council and added funding support of $25,000 should the regional council decide to fund development of the business case. The full business case cost has been estimated at between $100,000 and $150,000.

The Waikato Regional Council Strategy and Policy Committee will consider the Disability Concession and the proposal to fund a business case for free youth fares on 4 December 2018.

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