2 per cent instead of 3 per cent – public transport fares are going up, again

Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
A smaller than usual increase in Metlink bus, train and harbour ferry fares this year has been proposed by Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Councillors decided this week to consult the public on a proposal to increase fare revenue by two percent rather than an expected three percent.

The fare increase will not be confirmed until after it has been consulted on as part of the Regional Council’s Annual Plan process. Consultation will begin in late March. The increase will also depend on successful negotiations with public transport operators.

The smaller fare increase was proposed largely because of increasing concerns about the affordability of public transport.

Council Chair Fran Wilde says fare increases are needed to cover rising costs. “But we’re also very aware of the need to ensure that public transport is affordable. We’re concerned that this is becoming an issue for more people so a smaller increase is appropriate.”

She says that an important aspect of the proposal is that the increase is in the total fare revenue rather than an increase in each individual fare. “Some fares will not increase at all, whereas most stored value card or multi-trip fares will increase by an average of about 2.5%”.

A copy of the proposed fare schedule is attached.

Because cash fares need to be rounded to the next 50 cents, the percentage increase is always higher for these than smart card or multi-trip fares and this year it is proposed they will remain unchanged. The only cash fares that would increase are those for zones 8, 11 and 12. Multi-trip fares for these zones would increase by the average 2.5%.

It’s also proposed that the smart card fare for zone 1, which has not increased for three years, will increase from $1.60 to $1.66. The $2 cash fare would not change.
Fran Wilde says the zone 1 increase would require a temporary relaxation of the Council’s current policy that all smart card or multi-trip fares provide a discount of at least 20 percent on cash fares. “We felt we needed to do this as a temporary measure to prevent a much bigger increase in this particular fare in the future, but we remain firmly committed to the 20 percent discount policy.”

She says the smaller overall increase this year would still ensure that fares made up 55-60% of public transport costs. “The proposal still enables us to meet the requirements of our and central government’s farebox recovery policy which ensures that public transport users pay their fair share of public transport costs. Ratepayers and taxpayers foot the rest of the bill.”

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  1. Cr Paul Bruce, 27. February 2013, 11:58

    Wellington already has the highest farebox recovery of any region in the country, and there are strong signals that ability to pay is stopping modal shift to public transport. In this time of rising costs, decreasing employment, any fare rise will be counter productive, and will inhibit patronage growth.

    Any movement towards public transport from car use, brings of course benefits to the whole community through fewer accidents, improved health outcomes from decreased pollution and increased activity. Thus I opposed the fare rise, and recommended that any short fall in farebox revenue, if it occurs, shift to rates.

  2. Cr Daran Ponter, 27. February 2013, 23:25

    Worth noting that three regional councillors opposed the fare increases – Paul Bruce, Nigel Wilson and Daran Ponter.

    Also worth noting is the fact that Wellington bus users are paying significantly more for their ride than train users. The difference in ticket prices comes out at hundreds of dollars more per annum for regular Wellington bus commuters.

    Just another reason why Wellington can’t get integrated ticketing fast enough!


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