Wellington’s Victoria university students Association, backed (unsurprisingly) by the Public Service Association and some other bodies, are calling for free public bus transport for students. Several points arise.

First, there’s no such thing as free buses. They cost a lot to buy, service and run.

What the students are omitting to say is who they think should pay these costs for them.

A second point is their reasoning for this demand, namely the cost of living. That being their argument then why just buses? Why not free accommodation, food and clothing for them? There’s no difference in principle to targeting transport.

Frankly, I’m a big believer in the desirability of a stint of starving in the garrett for the young, as a lesson on life’s realities and an incentive to get stuck in and make something meaningful of their post-student careers. Boxing has an excellent adage which sums this up, specifically, “a hungry fighter is a good fighter”.


Students are naive enough to believe this Government can deliver something from nothing. Seems a good reason to raise the voting age rather than lower it. Eighteen year old fantasists are an unsound electorate.

Students associations have been asking for “”free”” stuff since 1786.

Correct in all your comment. However, I would suggest that this government seems to think it can deliver lots from nothing while, if fact, it delivers nothing from lots.
There is no such thing as government funded. It’s all tax payer funded in the end.

Most bus and train services already run at a substantial loss and are kept on purely as a public service by local councils. Fair enough, some of our most disadvantaged citizens rely heavily on them.

However one of the best lessons that students learn is how to make their way in life financially.
Everything has a cost and that includes transport.
I used to employ quite a few students, and I had a bit of fun listening to them bleat that the tax man cometh and simultaneously bleat about how their benefits weren’t high enough, transport should be free etc etc.

To their credit they would stand up for themselves when quizzed and point to the insane amount of money governments waste on weapons and suchlike.
When I replied that perhaps the military think free transport for students was insane their poor little heads would take quite a while to work out if I was serious or not…

“The right to free….” is often another way of saying “The right to theft”.

If this is the level of intelligence coming out of universities then we should raise the transport costs to a level they can’t afford to prevent them attending.

Free buses? Nope, they can bugger off. Buy a bike.

I was a student at Otago Uni in late 80s/early 90s. Biked everywhere.

Sure, my fingers were perpetually frozen from about May through to early October, but nothing that sticking fingers into a steaming hot Jimmy’s mince pie couldn’t fix. And, eventually, you learn to live with frostbite.

Wellington’s streets and byways are no steeper that Dunedin’s – and probably suffer far, far less from sheets of black ice – so if biking everywhere was good enough for this scarfie it’s good enough for the Wellington diddums.

Free buses went out along time ago. School buses use to be free, but it is now more financially economic to drop my three off, than pay for the service. Perhaps explains why the roads are so jammed.

My view is school buses should be free, and something started early will more than likely be used later in life. Would sort some congestion out too.

So perhaps there is an argument for free buses (for all), rather than just the gold card people.

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