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Public transport move a golden opportunity, Greens


Move to public transport a golden opportunity: Greens

News that public transport use is at a record high - with a 34 percent rise in Auckland rail passengers - is a golden opportunity for the Government to build on this trend and further encourage commuters to leave their cars at home, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

The Auckland Regional Council's Transport Patronage Survey shows the level of public transport use this year is the highest since records began in 1986, with bus passenger numbers up 7.3 percent and overall public transport use up 9.4 percent from last year.

"The Government must take full advantage of this historic opportunity to give new public transport users a great experience in light of these figures showing a big upsurge in usage," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Soaring fuel prices - with a 37 percent rise in petrol over the past year - are a major contributor to this increase in public transport numbers, and we have a golden opportunity to continue enticing commuters out of their cars.

"It is encouraging that people are voting with their feet and their wallets and embracing public transport options. We need to maintain momentum by increasing the number of services available, make sure they are efficient and on time, and resist any pressures to raise fares."

The Green Party views public transport investment as a key issue in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the reality of peak oil. The Party calls for a moratorium on building new motorways.

"What we are advocating here will also have a beneficial social effect, and create more vibrant cities," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Cities with viable bus and train services experience about half the congestion delay as comparable non-rail cities, as residents drive less, and have an effective alternative on the most congested corridors. This leads to lower transport costs for residents and businesses, reduced dependence on oil, cleaner air, and fewer traffic accidents."

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