Bus fare changes for children and youth

Fare changes are on the way for bus passengers under 25, following the Government’s decision to stop funding child and youth concessions.

Free travel for children aged 5 to 12 and half-price fares for those aged 13 to 24 will end on 30 April 2024. 

The concessions were introduced by the previous government and have been in place since July 2023.

From 1 May 2024, passengers aged 5 to 24 will return to paying the standrd fare, unless they qualify for another concession. This applies to all Taranaki Regional Council-operated services, including the Citylink, Connector, Your Connector, Southlink and school bus services.

Children under 5 continue to travel free, while Community Connect (for Community Services Card holders), WITT and SuperGold concessions are also unchanged.

Council Corporate Services Director Mike Nield acknowledges the change will affect young people and their whānau at a time many are struggling with high living costs.

“It would be great if those age-based concessions could continue a little longer however with the Government withdrawing funding that is not feasible.

“The Council unfortunately cannot afford to cover that cost ourselves, especially with uncertainty around wider public transport funding and rates already forecast to rise.”

Mr Nield says the Council has been working hard to make public transport more accessible and efficient.

Over the next few weeks, the Southlink service from Ōpunake to New Plymouth return will increase from three to five days per week and a new Waitara Express bus will begin next month. Other adjustments have been made to routes and timetables in response to community feedback. 

“We are working towards developing a public transport system that connects people to where they want to go and is our community's preferred mode of travel.”

Mr Nield urges all passengers with a Community Services card to go online and link their card to their Bee Card, if they haven’t already. They will then pay half price fares when using their registered Bee Card.

He also reminds people to ensure they have sufficient funds on their children’s Bee Card before 1 May.

A single Citylink trip within New Plymouth costs $2 with a Bee Card or $3 cash. A one-way journey from Hāwera to New Plymouth on the Connector will cost $5 with a Bee Card or $6 cash.

For more on fares and concessions go to www.trc.govt.nz/bus-fares-and-concession-types/(external link)

What you need to do:

  • If your child has a Bee Card, top up with sufficient funds before 1 May. The new fares will be automatically applied.
  • If you have a Community Services card that is not linked to your Bee Card, go to beecard.co.nz(external link) and register for the Community Connect concession. You will then automatically receive the concession when using your Bee Card.

From 1 May 2024:

  • Under 5s free
  • Children 5 – 12 full fare
  • Youth 13 – 24 full fare
  • Community Connect concession holders - half price with a registered Bee Card
  • SuperGold Card holders free between 9am – 3pm with a registered Bee Card