1 August 2019
Waikato is setting an example for the rest of the country with its implementation of free buses for disabled people, the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) says.
From today applications open for disabled people who are unable to drive to travel for free on all Hamilton City buses as well as on the 20 Cambridge, 21 Northern Connector, 22 Morrinsville Paeroa, 23 Raglan and 24 Te Awamutu services.
“This is great news for disabled people who rely on public transport to get out and about and participate in their community,” DPA Waikato Kaituitui Joy Ho says.
“Many disabled people are unable to drive, unable to cycle and cannot walk far. For us buses are really important in enabling us to independently participate in our community.
“However, statistically disabled people are on much lower incomes, and on top of this there are disability-related expenses. Disabled people are often struggling financially and so the cost of bus fares can be a barrier to getting out and about.
“Disabled people face many barriers every day. Making buses free takes away a barrier, it supports disabled people to get out and be in their community.
“It’s great that the Waikato Regional Council has listened to disabled people and is supporting us in this way.”
Ms Ho started a petition calling for free buses for disabled people last July. After over 2,500 people signed it, she presented it to the Waikato Regional Council.
The council voted to introduce the 100% bus concessions for disabled people in December 2018, and has implemented it earlier than the upcoming new bus ticketing system which is experiencing delays.