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GWRC Rail Fares Increases Short-sighted

Media release from Lyndy McIntyre, Kapiti Coast District Councillor and Kapiti Transport Action Group spokesperson

27 November 2007

GWRC Rail Fares Increases Short-sighted

“Greater Wellington Regional Council’s increase of student rail fares and plans to increase general fares next September are short-sighted actions that fail to take into account the need to address climate change,” said Kapiti Coast District Councillor and Kapiti Transport Action spokesperson Lyndy McIntyre today.

Lyndy McIntyre said the fare increase did not fit with GWRC’s Land Transport Strategy’s key outcomes of “increased peak period passenger transport mode share” and “reduced greenhouse gas emissions”.

“These outcomes were revised after feedback from the people of the Wellington region, including strong feedback from Kapiti, that public transport should have greater priority and greater funding,” she said.

Lyndy McIntyre said Kapiti commuters should now gear up for a major campaign to oppose the general fares increases, planned for September 2008.

“If we’re serious about climate change we must move commuters from road to rail. The Paraparaumu line is worn out and unreliable and the service is overpriced. How can we attract commuters to rail if the fares go up?” she said.

“Paekakariki to Wellington fares have increased by over 30% since 2002. What have we got to show for that? A promise of new trains and long overdue tracking and signal work by 2010.”

Lyndy McIntyre said that in 2005/2006 a massive increase in rail commuting led to a corresponding decrease in road congestion. Peak hour rail use rose by 11% and road congestion dropped by 17%.

“What a tragedy if another fare increase drives frustrated commuters back to their cars,” she said. “There is no rational argument in the age of climate change for any action that turns people off public transport. We need a fares moratorium until we have a rail service that gets commuters to work in comfort and on time. Even then any increase should be weighed up against the need to attract commuters to use rail.”

Lyndy McIntyre said comments by GWRC staff on where parents send their children to school were unhelpful.

“Parents have a range of reasons for choosing to send their children to school in Wellington, including a preference for single-sex schools. Those parents in Kapiti making this choice are now faced with term rail passes rising by $110 a term to $270. This has a major impact on households, particularly those with more than one secondary student.”

ENDS

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