Youth ambassador Clarissa Mackay. Photo Sophie Boladeras

The drive to get free weekend ferry trips for Waiheke kids in line with the rest of Auckland is ramping up, but it’s not known yet as to whether all island children between five and 15 will be included.

Free weekend ferry fares for Waiheke children are inching closing, with Auckland Transport scoping out the finer details of how the system could work.

Last year, Auckland Transport announced free public transport on weekends for children aged between five and 15. Unfortunately, Waiheke ferry trips were excluded. 

Following the news, youth ambassador Clarissa Mackay, a founder of the Eat Right Be Bright campaign for government-funded lunches in schools, launched a petition requesting island inclusion. Now, she says progress is being made – although the scheme is likely to include only children who go to school on Waiheke.

If this is the case, it could create a two-tier system whereby some children would receive free ferry fares, while others wouldn’t.

“Auckland Transport is putting together an official proposal/feasibility study similar to the one that Devonport created to get them included.”

Clarissa says the transport company is working out further details around how the Hop Card system would work if the initiative gets the go-ahead for Waiheke children.

“I’ve been in communication with AT for some months, they have been incredibly helpful and understand the positive effect this would have for island children who need to go to the city for sports or other activities on weekends.”

Clarissa says the free ferry fare initiative for Devonport children costs council around $500,000 per year.

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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