A free regional bus service for tertiary students in the Bay of Plenty is set to be rolled out next year.
The service means students from Katikati, Rotorua and Whakatāne will be able to travel in and out of Tauranga every weekday from February through to December next year.
It was a joint venture between the University of Waikato, Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency.
There will be a one year trial on the service to start before being rolled out permanently.
The public was also able to utilise the service at a cost.
Senior deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Waikato Professor Alister Jones said the service would greatly improve access to tertiary education for the communities of the Bay of Plenty.
“Our current bus services that extend across the Waikato region, which are also free of charge, have shown the benefits of providing services like this to students.”
Head of student support services at Toi Ohomai Dr Logan Bannister said she was confident the service would have a positive impact by removing barriers for students around transport accessibility and costs.
“Many students face substantial financial pressures, and can find transportation problematic. This service means that students will be able to get to their classes, without the added stress of finding and paying for transport.”
The regional council has budgeted $354,000 in its Annual Plan 2019/20 for the trial.The exact routes and timetables for the bus service are currently being finalised.
Students will need to show their student ID on board to access the service free of charge.