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Council takes commuters for a ride

1 July 2008

Council takes commuters for a ride

Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says she is shocked to learn that Wellington children will no longer have a reduced fare in the central city, and that some train fares are to increase by over 30 dollars a month.

The Green Party says Regional Councils around New Zealand need to wake up and make it easier to use public transport, not more difficult, following a decision by the Wellington Regional Council to increase public transport charges by 10 percent.

"Road congestion in Wellington has fallen by 3 percent and demand on some bus routes is up by 30 percent. So why has the council chosen to increase public transport charges by 10 percent for a standing room only service, in antiquated vehicles, which rarely run to schedule?" Ms Kedgley says.

"At peak hours, buses cannot cope with demand; people are left standing in the rain and dark as bus after bus sails past because not one more passenger can squeeze on board. Frustration is leading people to 'bus rage', which endangers drivers and passengers alike.

"On the other hand, a billion dollars can be found to build a motorway for a region with decreasing road use, when oil costs more every week; but when it comes to funding Wellington's public transport, passengers are on their own.

"Now is not the time to increase fares. We must encourage people to use the bus and train services, particularly children and students, and long distance commuters. Getting people off the roads has to be a priority for any society that understands the basic reality of peak oil and climate change.

"I cannot help but question the reality that some of Wellington's councillors live in when they make decisions which actually discourage people from taking public transport."


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