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Free travel announced for launch of Schoolhopper service

Wednesday, 3 December 2014 10:00 a.m.

Schoolhopper passengers will have one less cost to account for at the start of next year with the announcement today that travel on the new network will be free for Term 1.

The decision was made by the Regional Council to provide certainty to parents planning their children’s travel next year.

Bay of Plenty Regional Councillor and Chair of the Public Transport Subcommittee Lyall Thurston said he hopes the decision takes some of the financial pressure off families as they look at their budgets for the start of the school year.

 “We had been looking at ways to make the introduction of the new service as easy on families as possible, so we hope this helps eases some concerns that people may have,” Cr Thurston said.

He said the Regional Council did not want possible delay in the arrival of ticketing machines to impact on the smooth launch of the service.

“This will also allow us to ensure we have all our technology and processes in place to make sure the network runs smoothly in the first few weeks and give students time to purchase their Smartride Cards for their travel for Term 2.”

Cr Thurston said the Regional Council had budgeted for costs associated with launching the service, and felt this was the most appropriate way for that budget to be used.

 “It’s an exciting time for us as we launch the new network and hopefully create another generation of users of public transport.”

School student users of the Bayhopper network will also benefit – they will be able to take advantage of the reduced Schoolhopper bus fare from the start of the school term next year ($1.15 with a Smartride card or $1.60 cash fare).

Timings and stops for the Schoolhopper network will be available on the Baybus website (www.baybus.co.nz/schoolhopper) from next week.

Information about Schoolhopper:

  • Schoolhopper is a Tauranga school bus network being launched by Bay of Plenty Regional Council in term one 2015
  • It will replace the existing urban school bus service, which is being withdrawn by the Ministry of Education
  • The service is a dedicated service for school students only
  • Costs for the service are shared by Bay of Plenty Regional Council and NZ Transport Agency
  • You can find out more about the network at www.baybus.co.nz/schoolhopper
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