Staff recommend increasing bus and train fares; will regional councillors agree?

Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
A small increase in most non-cash fares for bus, train and harbour ferry services is being recommended by Greater Wellington Regional Council officers.

Council policy is to review fares annually. Any decision by the Council to proceed with a fare increase will be consulted on publicly in April as part of the draft Annual Plan process.

A report to the Council’s Policy and Strategy Committee meeting next Tuesday (18 February) recommends that most non-cash fares increase by 1% from 1 October 2014. For example, a 10-trip ticket to Waterloo would increase from $40.80 to $41.20, a bus trip from Wellington Station to Miramar, using Snapper, would increase to $3.67 from $3.63 and a monthly rail pass to Waikanae would increase to $301.80 from $298.80.

“An increase in fare revenue would help offset costs of providing public transport services which usually increase each year, says Wayne Hastie, the Regional Council’s General Manager, Public Transport. “Bus running costs, for instance, rose by about 1.7% in the last year and 3.5% the year before. Also we’re required to ensure that fares contribute around 55% to direct costs so the increase would keep us within that ratio.”

The recommended fare increase is in line with the Council’s five-year programme, adopted in 2012. “Increasing most smart card fares by a small percentage each year and increasing cash fares in different zones each year helps ensure evenness and fairness for fare payers throughout the region. It avoids the nasty shock of a huge increase every four or five years.”

Along with the 1% increase in most non-cash fares, officers recommend a 50 cent increase in adult cash fares for zones 1 (inner city), 7 (between Wellington and Pukerua Bay, Upper Hutt), 10 (Waikanae), 13 (Otaki, Carterton) and 14 (Masterton).

Dr Hastie says the increase to zone 1 cash fares would be the first since 2010. Examples of zone 1 trips are from Wellington Station to Courtenay Place, from Porirua Station to Porirua CBD, or from Waterloo Station to Queensgate.

“Operators prefer cash fare increases to be rounded to the nearest 50 cents for cash handling purposes, so this increase to zone 1 fares would be significant.

“However if we don’t increase zone 1 cash fares, the smart card discount would be less than 20% – our policy is for smart cards to provide a minimum 20% discount on cash fares. “It’s a much better option to use a smart card or 10-trip ticket.”

The report on the recommended fare increase is available at http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/council-reports/Report_PDFs/14.25.pdf

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7 comments:

  1. Tony Randle, 14. February 2014, 8:55

    There is simply no justification for the GWRC to increase Zone 1 or 2 fares as almost all these commuters are Wellington City bus users. The GWRC’s own report shows bus fares already cover 58.1% of the cost of providing the service. This which is already at the upper end of their own funding band of 55% – 60% and the fare increase could well mean bus fares go ABOVE the maximum level.

    The commuters who are not paying their fair share are rail commuters as the GWRC report states they only cover 52.9% of the cost of their service . . . BELOW the 55% minimum contribution.

    Also, apart from inflation, the GWRC does not plan to spend a cent on the bus service . . . the reason the PT costs are going up is almost all due to major increases to rail costs.

    This is a great deal for cities supported with rail services . . . why Wellington City residents who are reliant on an increasingly rundown yet expensive bus service are silent is beyond me.

     
  2. BD, 14. February 2014, 16:35

    This is just unfair. Increasing train and bus fares and building more motorways so people are encouraged to take their car – absolutely stupid and ridiculous.

     
  3. Elaine Hampton, 14. February 2014, 16:52

    Public transport is a cost that should be heavily discounted by rates.
    Keeping cars out of the local cities is imperative to a healthy, walking cycling environment. Affordable public transport is essential not a nice to have

     
  4. Phil C, 15. February 2014, 0:52

    Wow, starting to get close to Oyster card fares on London Underground.

    This:

    “However if we don’t increase zone 1 cash fares, the smart card discount would be less than 20% – our policy is for smart cards to provide a minimum 20% discount on cash fares. “It’s a much better option to use a smart card or 10-trip ticket.”

    is monumentally stupid reasoning. “Must increase fares to keep other fares down by comparison.”

     
  5. Tony Randle, 16. February 2014, 10:00

    You are so right Phil. In fact they broke their “minimum 20% discount policy” last year when they increased the 1 Zone Smartcard Fare. But, of course they did not highlight they were breaking their own fares policy then, did they!

    Even when I pointed this out, in person, directly to the Councillors including Chair Fran Wilde, (yes Transport Manager Wayne Hastie was there too) they still passed last year’s fare increase anyway.

    I also highlighted that they are keeping the much higher monthly train fares (42% discount) even though their own fares policy requires them to align bus and train fares.

    It seems the GWRC is happy to pick and choose when a fares policy applies and when it does not whenever it suits them . . . and it always suits them to raise bus fares :(

     
  6. Cr Paul Bruce, 19. February 2014, 11:39

    International trends are for declining vehicle kilometres (http://transportblog.co.nz/2014/02/19/our-insane-traffic-projections/#comment-99048)and rising public transport patronage, yet Wellington bus numbers are flat lining – due to gross unreliability of services running through the crowded CBD. Overseas consultant ARUP indicates that PT patronage will decline further once all the new RoNS roads are built (at a cost of $3 billion).

    Another component of the RoNs package is a new Basin Flyover (Bridge), which is also being tied to any public transport improvements recommended in the Spine Report. However, the Wellington Regional Transport subcommittee has gone for Bus Rapid Transit instead of light rail along the spine, limiting future PT capacity. This could also result in eventually swopping electric trolley buses for noisy diesel bendy ones!

    NZTA is also recommending that the major connection between Petone to Wellington safe cycle way be linked to another new road through to Grenada and yet another through Takapu Valley.

    I guess you get the picture!!!

     
  7. Perth Glory, 19. February 2014, 17:29

    In Perth WA, the bus fares in the CBD are zip, 0, zero, zilch, nothing. Got that GWRC?

    How do you do that? You have to pay for parking on the edge of town but you can get on one of the CATS for zip, 0, zero, zilch, nothing.

    Why? because car parking is expensive to build and ugly to boot and creates congestion on the inner edges of town. And in the CBD, lots of the buses have spare capacity.

    And there’s more: You don’t need expensive integrated fares when the price is zip, 0, zero, zilch, nothing.

    Far too clever for the GWRC me thinks.

     

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