Go Card Makes Bus Go Far

Discount Trial Tries Discounts

The recent trial of a 25 per cent discount on Dunedin bus services is “proving pretty successful” says Otago Regional Council (ORC) Chairman, Stephen Woodhead. A noticeable increase in patronage means the discount trial will continue until 30 April 2014, after which the Council will decide whether it remains permanent.

Woodhead says the discount is being offered exclusively to students as a direct result of “student associations canvassing the Council.” OPSA president Rebecca Swindells said students have been calling for a bus discount for some time. “Many students are on tight budgets, parking is expensive and in limited supply, so the more students that use buses the more money is in their pockets,” she said.

The trial allows all first year students at the University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic and Aoraki Polytechnic to get a free Go Card. Returning students can get a Go Card for the usual fee of five dollars.

Within the first month, students made over 18,000 trips on Dunedin buses. However, the Council does not yet know how this compares to last year. According to Woodhead, a full data analysis will be made in April to assist in the current restructuring of bus services. The restructuring is intended to increase bus usage throughout Dunedin and make it easier for students to live outside the North Dunedin area.

Critic spoke with one bus user who criticised the discount as being misleading. He said that the Go Card discount has been around for years, meaning the discount is closer to 15% for existing card holders. OUSA President Ruby Sycamore-Smith says, “we’re really impressed with the students and how active they have been in the trial.” She believes that from the numbers using the service, “we can see a continued relationship with ORC and the student discounts.”
This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2014.
Posted 5:30pm Sunday 23rd March 2014 by Josie Cochrane.