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Birthday Party Marks One Year Of Half-price Public Transport

Today, the Free Fares Campaign will celebrate one year of half-price public transport by holding a birthday party outside Parliament.

“We’ve had one year of half-price fares and there’s so much to celebrate. We hope the policy has many brilliant years ahead,” said Free Fares spokesperson Mika Hervel.

The government halved public transport fares from 1 April 2022, initially for 3 months, but the uptake has been popular enough for it to be extended multiple times.

“Half-price fares are transforming lives. People have been able to visit family more often, and access healthcare, jobs, and education they could not otherwise enjoy. At a time with high cost of living, affordable fares have taken some pressure off and helped people take part in what their regions have to offer,” said spokesperson Mika Hervel.

“We’re also celebrating that half-price fares have helped the climate. According to Waka Kotahi research, because of half-price fares, up to 166,000 adults chose public transport instead of taking a private car. In Auckland, the policy caused one in twenty adults to leave a car behind, lessening road congestion and climate pollution.[1]

“This mode shift is something for us to celebrate, and for our government to build on with further investments in public transport. Of course we need reliable services too, and government support for driver wages and frequent services can come alongside affordable fares.

“It’s worth noting that we are celebrating a very popular policy. Two polls from November 2022 found that four in five adult New Zealanders support the government making half-price transport permanent.[2]

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“We are calling on the government to do that - to make half-price fares permanent to lock in the great benefits we’ve seen this year. We’re also calling on them to make public transport free for the groups that need it most: under-25s, Community Services Card holders, tertiary students and Total Mobility Cardholders and their support people.

“To ensure that cost is no barrier to people using public transport, the government should act fast and listen to the public. Free Fares is a policy that people love. It’s not only one that benefits our people, but it also benefits our climate and our communities.”

[1] www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2303/S00041/up-to-200000-kiwis-choosing-public-transport-due-to-half-price-fares.htm

[2] www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2212/S00052/two-in-three-new-zealand-adults-support-free-public-transport-new-poll-shows.htm

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