Disappointed At Govt's Announcement That Half-price Public Transport Fares Will End On 31 March
The Ecology, Justice and Peace Commission of the Wellington Catholic Archdiocese is very disappointed at today’s government announcement that half-price public transport fares will end on 31 March.
‘Permanently continuing half-price fares for all passengers would have been an excellent means of reducing carbon emissions’, said the Commission’s chairperson, Jim McAloon. Waka Kotahi’s own figures show that seven or eight per cent of people made public transport journeys they wouldn’t otherwise have made, and to abandon the programme now means shutting down what is an excellent start in reducing transport emissions, he said.
‘We also think that framing half-price fares only as a cost of living issue misses the point’, said Estelle Henrys, convenor of the Commission’s Integral Ecology committee. ‘While we don’t wish to disparage the reduced fares that will continue for many, the Ministry for the Environment estimates that transport accounts for 17 per cent of this country’s gross greenhouse gas emissions. Encouraging people to use public transport, or to use it more, is a straightforward way of reducing these emissions. Everything counts in this urgent crisis.’
While the Minister of Transport is correct that there are other factors in encouraging people into public transport, some of these will take time to implement. It is shortsighted to abandon this promising initiative when other improvements are some time away, Jim McAloon said.