Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


No mana in undermining free public transport

Media release
VAN -- Valley Action Network
17 September, 2007


No mana in undermining free public transport

Valley Action Network is disappointed, but not surprised, by the actions of Mana Coach Services in undermining the first free bus service in the Wellington region.

Last Tuesday's meeting of the Passenger Transport Committee of Greater Wellington Regional Council was expected to approve a free bus service for Kapiti Coast commuters who hold monthly train passes.

Instead, it received a brief report from Council Transport Planner Yvonne Gwyn. The report said the free bus trial would not go ahead because Mana Coaches would not cooperate.

"Free public transport is an idea whose time has come", said VAN organiser Grant Brookes. "Spending ever more transport dollars building more roads for more cars, in an age of climate change and rising oil prices, is crazy.

"The sensible alternative is free and frequent public transport, spelled out today in the release of VAN's transport policy. This is what we'll be pursing if we're elected to Hutt City Council.

"Other cities like Invercargill and Christchurch, with less developed public transport systems, have free buses. Why not here?

"The actions of Mana Coach Services, however, highlight the need to look at ownership and control of public transport at the same time", commented Grant. "Clearly, private transport companies can't be relied on to be sensible.

"The Regional Council is buying new trains. Why not publicly-owned buses, too?"

VAN's policy of Free and Frequent Public Transport, reprinted below, is the fourth of six policy releases to be made before next month's local body elections.

The six policies are:

* A Human City -- Putting people before big business interests
* A Green City -- Action on climate change. Zero tolerance for polluters
* Grassroots Democracy -- Community Boards for all, with extra powers
* Rates Justice -- Reductions based on need. Residents before greedy corporations
* Free Council Services -- Not just protected but extended
* Free and Frequent Public Transport -- It makes climate sense and serves the people.

More information on these policies can be found on the VAN website, www.huttvan.org.nz.

-------------

Free and frequent public transport -- It makes climate sense and serves the people

The burning of oil and other fossil fuels is raising the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and threatening huge climate change. At the same time, peak oil -- the end of the world's cheap oil supplies -- is around the corner. Competition for what's left is fuelling wars. To tackle these major problems facing humanity, new solutions are needed.

In New Zealand cities, the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions is transport -- mainly private motor vehicles.

For Hutt residents, transport is a big issue. A third of the Hutt residents in jobs commute outside the city to get to work. Many more commute for family and social reasons.

Drivers face clogged motorways, frustration and road rage. Roads within Hutt City, too, are choked at peak times. Businesses lose money through the delays.

The Council's solution to these problems is to build more roads. They support plans to spend a billion dollars on a new motorway through Transmission Gully and upwards of $60 million on a new Cross Valley Link.

But more roads encourage more car use and more greenhouse gas emissions. They're a short-term fix for congestion in one place that moves the bottleneck somewhere else. And new charges on motorists, like a regional petrol tax, will be needed to build them.

What's needed is a major push to encourage people into public transport -- particularly into our electrified rail service, which is powered mainly by clean, renewable energy.

Making trains, buses and ferries free would do this, without hitting drivers with new taxes.

Other cities like Christchurch and Invercargill already have some free bus routes. Campaigners in Auckland and Dunedin are pushing to extend this to free and frequent public transport city-wide, like in some European and North American cities.

Fares could be eliminated by diverting a fraction of Wellington's roading budget to public transport. But it's unlikely to happen under current ownership arrangements.

The privatisation of public transport has been a disaster. Private operators have been happy to cream off profits, while the network's been run down.

When major investment is needed to maintain or upgrade the system, they demand hand-outs from the public purse.

The government already owns the railway tracks. The Greater Wellington Regional Council is spending more than $500 million refurbishing the trains, buying new ones and building new stations.

Public subsidies cover around half the annual operating costs for Tranz Metro. Bus operators get two thirds of their income from the public purse.

It makes sense to spend a little extra and take the whole transport network back into public ownership. Then there would be no private operator creaming off profits, and every public dollar could go on reducing fares and improving services.

In 2002, the Regional Council won government backing to buy a half share of Tranz Metro. The deal fell through, mainly due to ideological opposition to public ownership from local councils and business interests.

We say that a fraction of Wellington's roading budget should be used to take public transport back into public ownership and make it free and frequent. It makes climate sense and serves the people.

VAN -- Valley Action Network wants moves towards this by:

* Speaking out in favour of public transport over more road-building in all public forums.

* Scrapping plans to waste millions of ratepayer dollars on a new Cross Valley Link.

* Pressing Greater Wellington Regional Council to bring forward its plans for trains on the Upper Hutt line every 10 minutes at peak times, and every 15 minutes off-peak.

* Linking up with other authorities and campaigners in the region to petition the government for more money for public transport.

* Reviving plans for Greater Wellington Regional Council to buy out private transport operators, and then move to reduce fares towards zero.


ENDS

www.huttvan.org.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Inquiry Into One Case Of Dirty Politics

Suddenly, we’re awash in inquiries and reviews. (It feels almost as if the Greens won the last election.) Caught out by the damning inquiry by SIS Inspector-General Cheryl Gwyn, the government’s response yesterday was utterly in character – it released two other major reports at the same time to try and distract public attention...

Inquiries are supposed to re-assure the public. What these inquiry outcomes share in common is a government culture of zero responsibility. More>>

IGIS: Statement On Early Report Release

As the Inspector-General stated at the release of the report yesterday morning, she is examining what steps to take over the early disclosure of information from the report... Ms Gwyn said that she was aware of Mr Goff's subsequent statements that he had disclosed some information concerning findings in the report. She will be seeking further information from Mr Goff and others. More>>

ALSO:

IGIS ON SIS:

 
 

Parliament Today:

Temporary Release Crackdown Continues: Corrections Review Of Phillip Smith Case

“The review by Corrections’ Chief Custodial Officer reveals that the plan for Smith’s series of temporary releases was overly ambitious and misinformed. He’s a highly manipulative and deceptive person who although technically eligible, should not have been considered for temporary release." More>>

ALSO:

White Ribbon Day: Govt Resumes Sexual Violence Trial Proceedings Work

Justice Minister Amy Adams has asked the Law Commission to resume work on proposals for better supporting victims of sexual violence through the criminal process. The Law Commission will revisit its previous work on alternative pre-trial and trial processes to identify options for improving complainants’ experience in court. More>>

ALSO:

"New Faces, Wise Heads": Andrew Little Announces New Labour Line Up

Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Rick Ellis As Te Papa’s New CEO

The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial goals as he did at TVNZ, while similarly neglecting the serious cultural side of his mandate. More>>

Passport Cancellation, Surveillance: Draft 'Foreign Fighters Legislation' Released

The final draft of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill contains proposals previously announced by Mr Key in a major national security speech earlier this month. More>>

ALSO:

Related

Joint Statement: Establishment Of NZ-China Strategic Partnership

At the invitation of Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister The Rt Hon John Key of New Zealand, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China made a state visit to New Zealand from 19 to 21 November 2014... More>>

ALSO:

Savings Targets: Health Procurement Plan Changes Direction

Next steps in implementing DHB shared services programme Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has agreed to explore a proposal put forward by DHBs to move implementation of the shared services programme to a DHB-owned vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

More on Health Policy:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news