Coun­cil votes to raise public trans­port fares

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Bus and train fares are to rise across the re­gion from Oc­to­ber.

Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil de­cided at its meet­ing on March 27 that all multi-trip tick­ets, in­clud­ing ten- trip tick­ets, monthly, quar­terly and school term tick­ets would in­crease by 3 per cent.

Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive David Ben­ham said the al­ter­na­tive to in­creas­ing fares was a rate in­crease of about 1 per cent.

In the public par­tic­i­pa­tion part of the meet­ing Tony Ran­dle of John­sonville pointed out that the coun­cil’s public trans­port costs had in­creased be­cause of the rail sys­tem up­grades and the pur­chase of the Matangi trains but ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil’s own an­nual plan doc­u­ments, bus op­er­at­ing costs had not risen.

‘‘ The ques­tion has to be asked: ‘‘If bus costs are not go­ing up why are fares go­ing up?’’’ he said.

‘‘ It is sim­ply not fair to in­crease the costs of bus users sim­ply to save rail users. The in­creases are caused by the train costs and the users should pay.’’

Greater Welling­ton eco­nomic well­be­ing com­mit­tee chair­man Peter Glen­sor said the coun­cil had to con­sider the cost of pro­vid­ing an en­tire public trans­port net­work.

‘‘We don’t look at the bus that comes up my street in Korokoro and say ‘there’s one per­son on it – we have to look at the fare ra­tios [ the pro­por­tions of cost cov­ered by fares and ratepayer sub­sidy]’.’’

Green coun­cil­lor Paul Bruce op­posed the in­creases.

‘‘I’m aware that in the short term that could mean more rates but in the long term we should have ex­tra pas­sen­ger rev­enue that should ame­lio­rate that.’’

Kapiti coun­cil­lor Nigel Wil­son said the an­swer was more pa­tron­age rather than high­er­pay­ing pa­tron­age.

Ju­dith Aitken said she did not sup­port the in­creases.

Welling­ton coun­cil­lor Daran Pon­ter said fares should not in­crease un­til pa­trons were able to buy a sin­gle in­te­grated ticket which cov­ered all modes of trans­port they would need for their en­tire jour­ney.

Porirua coun­cil­lor Jenny Brash said the ris­ing cost of oil must be fac­tored into the coun­cil’s trans­port plan­ning, as well as an age­ing pop­u­la­tion.

‘‘With all the baby boomers re­tir­ing there is go­ing to be a huge in­crease in pa­tron­age over the next five years.’’

Welling­ton coun­cil­lor Bar­bara Don­ald­son said a reg­u­lar in­crease of 3 per cent each year was prefer­able to less reg­u­lar rises of up to 20 per cent.

Coun­cil chair­woman Fran Wilde said the im­pact of the in­creases would fall mostly on cash fare pay­ers.

‘‘We are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to have mul­ti­ple [ jour­ney] cards,’’ she said.

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