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Wrong time to raise fares

Media statement Councillor Paul Bruce 27th May 2008

Wrong time to raise fares

"Greater Wellington must hold fire with proposed public transport fare increases," says Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Paul Bruce. Now is the wrong time. Significant numbers of new passengers are trying public transport in response to rocketing fuel price rises. We mustn't turn them off.

Cr Bruce noted that the majority of submitters to the Annual Plan asked that the increase be deferred and the Chamber of Commerce has requested that fares be kept at a level that made public transport a competitive alternative to private cars. Land Transport New Zealand has pointed out that higher fares are inconsistent with the Council's target of increasing patronage and reducing greenhouse emissions.

"The International Energy Agency is warning of oil supply problems in the coming year, and Goldman Sachs predicts oil price rises taking petrol above $3 a litre by the end of the year, said Cr Bruce. " We are lucky that 70% of passenger kms are already powered by electricity. But we need to do more and this means more electric bus routes and extending the rail network through to the Hospital and eastern suburbs using light rail."

Cr Bruce also urged GW to consider shifting planned expenditure on new roads such as Transmission Gully to capital items such as light rail and removing rail network bottlenecks. "To ensure long term resiliency in the face of continued oil price increases, we need to adapt by shifting expenditure from transport which is dependent on oil to transport which is not", Cr Bruce concluded.


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