4 Apr 2024

As free bus fares are scrapped, what's the likely impact on school attendance?

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 4 April 2024

Principals say scrapping public transport subsidies will only add to school absenteeism, just as the government gears up to tackle it. From May 1, kids up and down the country will have to pay more to use buses and trains.

For two years 5 to 12-year-olds travelled for free as part of the Community Connect public transport package, while half price fares were applied for those up to 24 years. The government opted not to continue the funding and most local government transport bodies are passing the cost on to commuters. Principals say that'll squeeze family budgets more, and impact on attendance.

Kathryn speaks to Richard Harrison, Auckland Transport's growth and optimisation manager, Northcote Intermediate principal Phil Muir and Principals' Federation president Leanne Otene.

School bus

School bus Photo: RNZ