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Greater Wellington proposes better Metlink fares

Greater Wellington proposes better Metlink fares

Greater Wellington Regional Council is seeking public feedback on a proposal for fare concessions and changes aimed at encouraging off-peak public transport use, helping disadvantaged groups and paving the way for improvements to the city’s bus network.

It is proposed bus and train customers travelling at off-peak times will receive a 25 per cent discount, while the blind, disabled and full-time tertiary students will get an all-day 25 per cent discount. The 25% discount will apply when you use a Snapper card or rail 10-trip ticket, which is equivalent to about a 50% discount on cash.

A 50 per cent discount will be extended to all schoolchildren whether using a Snapper card or cash, making fares cheaper for shorter distance travel.

Free bus transfers are also proposed because more passengers will need to switch buses as part of a forthcoming redesign of Wellington city’s bus network. This will provide significant benefit for all bus passengers.
The proposals are the result of a review of Metlink fares, and will go out for public comment from 14 August until 18 September.

Greater Wellington Chair Chris Laidlaw says a 3 per cent general fare rise is also proposed – the first since 2013 – to pay for part of the fare changes.

“We expect the increase to cover about a third of the cost of the concessions, or $2.5 million. The remaining 5 million would need to come from regional rates and a subsidy from the New Zealand Transport Agency. We expect the package to boost passenger numbers by about 4 per cent, which equates to an extra 1.5 million trips a year. The off-peak concession alone should account for half of the increase.”

Other proposals include:

• offering more free bus connections to trains when using a monthly pass

• replacing six day passes with a new Metlink Explorer day pass. The pass will allow one child to travel free when accompanied by an adult.

• bringing ferry fares more into line with bus and train fares

• ending school term and 30-day passes, relying on Snapper and free transfers on bus. And for rail, school children will need to use rail monthly passes and 10-trip tickets.

• making a boundary change to enable people in Titahi Bay and Porirua East to travel within their suburb and also to reach Porirua’s CBD without crossing into another zone

• Applying a 25 per cent premium for all cash fares. Most adult cash fare, including the zone 1 fares will increase by 50 cents

• amending rail tickets offered on event days.

The timing for these changes has not yet been finalised. Some changes such as the free bus transfers need to be in place in time for the new bus network. Other changes may need to be phased in to manage transition. In July next year, new operators Tranzit and Uzabus will begin running new fleets alongside NZ Bus and Mana on the region’s roads. Snapper will also become the smartcard used on all buses in the region.

Greater Wellington’s Sustainable Transport Committee will consider the proposal at a meeting on 8 August.

After a public hearing in mid-October and evaluation of feedback, the proposal will go to a full council meeting.

Barbara Donaldson, Chair of the Sustainable Transport Committee says: “I encourage Wellingtonians to have their say on this proposal when it goes out for public consultation. We are the biggest users of public transport in the country so it’s important if you use it and you pay for it, you should tell us what you think.”

Approval of the package will require an amendment to the Wellington Regional Public Transport Plan 2014.

For more details, go to http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/council-reports/Report_PDFs/2017.269a1.pdf

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