University students missing classes after the Government cancels half-price bus fares

May 22, 2024

University students missing classes after the Government cancels half-price bus fares

Students have been dropped off at the Auckland Universities bus stop. Photo: Freya Topper

Auckland university students are missing classes as they cannot afford to pay bus fares after the Government withdrew half-price fares for those under 25.

The discontinuation of government funding affects approximately 200,000 registered HOP card users.

A spokesperson for AUT Financial Services says that there are more students missing classes because of the rising costs of living and transport.

“We are seeing more students not being able to attend class due to the cost of getting to campus.  This is also an issue for students who have classes across multiple campuses and/or have a long commute.”

In 2023, AUT helped 213 students with the AT HOP card expenses, costing it around $44,300, and it expects that number to rise in 2024.

AUT student Lucy Stanley says that she must choose between going to class and buying food since the half-price bus fares were cancelled at the beginning of May.

“I’m a student living off both Studylink and work. My previous weekly transport costs were $25 a week and that was doable within my Studylink. It’s gonna be double now, like $45-50 a week.”

“I reckon you’ll see a drop in attendance rates in classes because we are finding it too difficult to attend classes.”

Another AUT student says “I just topped up my HOP card with $10 and it’s gone in two days. So, feeling it a bit more in the old back pocket.”

A student from Denmark says that Auckland Transport system is “ridiculously expensive” compared to her home country.

A spokesperson for Auckland Transport says that “with an estimated annual cost to AT of approximately $61.5 million, it was not deemed possible without central governmental support.”

He says that those affected by the funding withdrawal should look into other discount programs including one that offers tertiary students a 20 per cent discount.

A spokesperson for AUT Financial Support Services says that this is not enough, especially when part-time students are not eligible for it.

Listen here Auckland students talking about removing under-25’s concession.

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