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Like A Prayer

States To Vote On Making Buses Free

School buses could become free from September if plans are backed by politicians.

Deputy Rob Ward wants to cut down traffic on the school run, and take steps to reduce the island's carbon emissions.

States Members have already agreed to declare a 'climate change emergency' and aim for the island to become carbon neutral by 2030.

If politicians support his latest proposal, the government will have until the end of 2020 to put together a plan to make all bus travel in the island free.

Deputy Ward told Channel 103 that islanders need an improved public transport system if they're to leave their cars at home:

"It's no good just producing punitive measures to try and stop people using their cars. You have to give some ability to change behaviour, and that's exactly what I'm aiming to do.

"If we can take some of those cars off the roads during the school run, then it makes traffic flow better. If we can eventually move to free buses, we can move people away from their cars and certainly in the centre of St Helier, it will improve air quality and lower our carbon emissions."

He says this is just the first step towards an 'integrated transport system', incorporating free public transport with a view to eventually extending the network to better serve rural areas.

The cost of providing free school buses is estimated to be around £300,000, which the Deputy says is a similar amount to what LibertyBus already returns to the government.

The States Assembly will debate making the island's bus system free-to-use on the 18th of June.

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