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Shot in the arm for public transport

15 September 2000 Media Statement

Shot in the arm for public transport

Public transport is set to get a major shot in the arm if it can sustain the current high levels of demand, says Transport Minister Mark Gosche.

Mr Gosche was commenting on media reports that there has been a substantial leap in the number of Auckland and Hamilton people using public transport recently.

“If transport operators can keep that momentum up that then they will get the maximum benefit from the government’s new funding system, set to begin in November.”

Under that new system, the more passengers using public transport services, the more money operators will receive from central Government.

“So the more public transport use grows, the more money the Government will give to help it grow even more.”

As a result current annual public transport spending of $46 million could be boosted by $27 million a year within three years. If capital expenditure from projects already under investigation was also included, total extra funding could exceed $47 million, Mr Gosche said.

“Of course that’s dependent on more people using public transport, but these latest reports show that people do use public transport. The challenge now for public transport providers is to make sure they keep using it.

“That’s where government funding will help – by helping raise the quality of the services, and the frequency, especially at peak hour, we can encourage people to stick with public transport.”

Details of the new scheme are still being finalised. Transfund has been consulting with regional councils and next week will give a series of seminars to councils and other interested parties on exactly how the scheme will work.

“All the indications are that regional councils are very enthusiastic about the changes and are poised to take full advantage of the new scheme.”

Longer term the Government plans to review the way public transport is funded and managed, to see what more it can do to fulfil its commitment to public transport.

Ends

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