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Affordable Transport Needed For All Disadvantaged

Affordable Transport Needed For All Disadvantaged

FAST is an umbrella group of organisations and individuals who support sustainable transport solutions to meet the economic, environmental and social challenges of transporting people and goods in the Auckland region. Forum for Auckland Sustainable Transport 52 Hepburn St, Freemans Bay PO Box 91-301, Auckland 24 May 2008


Free Off Peak Public Transport For Retired People Is Great But What About Other Disadvantaged People Facing High Transport Costs?

The Forum for Auckland Sustainable Transport (FAST) welcomes the Budget’s generosity to pensioners, through its offer of free public transport at off peak hours. FAST assumes that off peak hours includes between 9.00am -3.00pm and after 6.00pm on weekdays, and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The scheme is expected to start on 1 April 2009.

A FAST spokesperson, Mr Bevan Woodward, stated “FAST congratulates Mr Peters for being able to negotiate such a generous agreement with the government. Many elderly people find it difficult to pay for the transport they need to catch up with family and friends, for shopping and other trips. This will help ensure that the elderly are well integrated into the community, and are not isolated.”

“FAST considers it would make a lot of sense to expand this scheme of free public transport at off peak hours by including the low paid, beneficiaries, and students,” said Mr Woodward. FAST questions why other vulnerable groups in the community besides the elderly are not having the offer of free public transport at off peak hours made available to them. “What about the working poor, who often cannot afford to drive the car to the supermarket, or take their children to sport on a Saturday? What about sickness and other beneficiaries? What of secondary and tertiary students?” questioned Mr Woodward.

“FAST is concerned that this budget decision improves the position of one vulnerable group in society, while ignoring the needs of other vulnerable groups. It’s unfair and inequitable, and somewhat of a surprise from a Labour led government that has introduced “Working For Families,” Mr Woodward said.

“FAST is aware that in Auckland, the 2006 census information shows over 30,500 households do not have access to a private motor vehicle. Just imagine the difference it would make to all the people in those households if they were able to use free public transport outside peak hours.”

Ends

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