The Green Party is calling on Transport Minister Simon Bridges to adopt Wellington City Council’s trial of “gold coin” bus fares and fund it nationwide, if public transport use increases as a result of the trial.
The Wellington City announced today it will trial cheaper weekend bus fares in the lead-up to Christmas, an initiative championed by a Green Councillor Iona Pannett. The move aims to reduce traffic congestion and help shoppers avoid parking fees during the busy Christmas shopping period.
“Wellington’s cheaper weekend bus fares in the lead up to Christmas will be a great opportunity for the Government to test whether increasing funding for public transport could result in more people using buses and trains in Wellington,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie-Anne Genter.
"National has continually failed to adequately fund buses and trains since coming to office in 2008, which has resulted in fare hikes in most centres.
“If this initiative proves successful there would be a strong case for National to increase central government funding for public transport to drive down the cost of fares”.
“Ratepayers can’t be expected to cover the cost of fare reductions like this over the long term; it is the responsibility of central government who manages a very large transport budget”.
“More people using buses, trains and ferries results in greater benefits to everybody. Roads become less congested, more parking becomes available, and as a bonus we get a cleaner environment”, she said.
“This initiative comes in the wake of the release of figures by the Green Party which showed the average bus and train fare in Wellington had risen by more than 30 percent since 2006, and that some commuters have had to swallow price hikes of more than 50 percent over the past decade, said Ms Genter.”