Daran Ponter calls for reversal of fare increases
PRESS STATEMENT MONDAY 13 SEP 2010
Daran Ponter calls for a reversal of bus fare increases
Bus fare increases – some by as much as 100 percent – that are scheduled to begin from 1 October 2010 should be reversed, says Daran Ponter, candidate for the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
He says he has had huge feedback from people right across the city over the past few weeks, all opposed to the fare increases. Some families are faced with fare increases amounting to more than hundred dollars a month.
Mr Ponter says it is critical that public transport remains affordable.
“By raising bus fares, along with rail and ferry fares, we are sending entirely the wrong message to Wellingtonians.
“I believe that the Wellington Regional Council should reverse its decision to raise bus fares. We need to take all reasonable steps to make public transport an easy option for commuters. We need to be working to make public transport more efficient and more affordable – not less so! “We have now have a situation where bus users are effectively subsidising train users,” Mr Ponter points out.
“This is hardly a recipe for success. Bus commuters from Karori, Island Bay or Kilbirnie should not have to compensate for a lack of income from rail commuters.”
An efficient, affordable and safe public transport system that offers integrated ticketing is a top priority for Wellington’s future sustainability, Mr Ponter believes.
He supports “a single fare across the region valid for 1 hour of travel, with concessions based on the hour of travel and for students, young, elderly and disabled”.
He argues that there also needs to be a stronger focus on cycle ways and walking access in Wellington city, and more space provided for cycles on trains and at railway stations. “Just increasing spending to 10 percent of public transport funding on walking and cycling would be a huge benefit to the thousands of Wellingtonians who either walk or bike to work, or who would if they had more confidence that they could do so safely.”
Mr Ponter supports turning the Golden Mile into a dedicated public transport/pedestrian space. He opposes a flyover at the Basin Reserve and rushing into light rail.
“Light rail is a wonderfully efficient and safe means of transport. It sounds very cosmopolitan, very chic, and ooh so wonderfully green but it could come at a huge expense. Let’s not rush into light rail without thinking through the options and the costs”
Mr Ponter is a well-respected public policy consultant who has been involved in negotiating a number of Treaty settlements (including the Port Nicholson settlement), among numerous projects, over the past 20 years. He is married and is the father of two primary school-aged children.