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Breakthrough in debate about free public transport

19 September 2019

Breakthrough in debate about free public transport brings challenge to other mayoral contenders

The Minto for Mayor campaign welcomes today’s public appeal for trials of free public transport in New Zealand cities from Professor Sir Alan Mark from Otago University.


Sir Alan Mark has joined Canterbury University’s Bronwyn Hayward who was reported in the Press two months back saying free public transport in Christchurch could be a “game-changer” in reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

These academics are joining the call for us to do much more than plant forests – we actually have to reduce our carbon emissions – and free public transport is the best way to create a watershed change in favour of our children and grandchildren.

Around the world the call for free public transport is gaining momentum. Kansas City could become the first US city to take up the policy which is already a feature of Dunkirk in France and Tallinn in Estonia.

Tonight at the Generation Zero public debate I will be asking the other two leading mayoral contenders, Darrell Park and Lianne Dalziel, to commit to a feasibility study and trial of free public transport in Christchurch.

As well as a big reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions, the benefits of free public transport in Christchurch include:

• Revitalising the city centre (this has been the experience in Dunkirk)
• An economic boost for Christchurch businesses (locals have more money to spend locally!)
• Reduced inequality in the city (the policy gives workers an extra four weeks’ pay a year through savings on petrol/car repairs)
• Improved productivity with less congestion
• Increased social cohesion (people from all walks of life enjoying each other’s company on low emission buses with free wifi)
• Less traffic congestion for people who hate public transport


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