A trial of free school buses for some Tauranga students will begin next week.

The Welcome Bay school bus trial will establish whether free fares for students can assist in Tauranga's traffic congestion at the start of Term One for Welcome Bay students.

The trial will run for the 2019 school year and is being led by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, with cooperation from Tauranga City Council, NZ Transport Agency and the Ministry of Education.

It begins from Wednesday next week with buses going to Aquinas College and Bethlehem College, a regional council spokeswoman said.


Regional council public transport committee chairman Lyall Thurston said the limited access points in and out of Welcome Bay, the location of schools and existing bus-use made Welcome Bay an ideal location for the trial.

"Trialling free school bus services on a route known for congestion will provide clear information regarding the impact of the trial on traffic flows," Cr Thurston said.

"The trial if successful may alleviate some of this in the short term."

Data shows 724 students lived in the Welcome Bay area with between 250 and 300 using school buses, the regional council said in a statement.

Some of the routes will have two buses running on them and students only need to be in school uniform to get access to the free service, no special passes or tickets are required.

For more information on the Welcome Bay free school bus trial, people can go to www.baybus.co.nz.

Welcome Bay free school buses and start dates
704 – Aquinas College. Starts January 30
720 – Mount Maunganui College and Mount Maunganui Intermediate. Starts February 4.
803 – Tauranga Intermediate, Tauranga Girl's College, Tauranga Boy's College and St Mary's. Starts February 4.
804 – Tauranga Intermediate. Starts February 4.
805 – Tauranga Intermediate. Starts February 4.
811 – Bethlehem College. Starts January 30.
901 – Tauranga Girls' College. Starts February 1.
902 – Tauranga Boys' College. Starts February 7.
904 – Otumoetai College and Otumoetai Intermediate. Starts February 4.