Council votes to raise public transport fares
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.