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Union Says Price Hike Penalises Public Transport

Union Says Price Hike Penalises Public Transport Users

Affordable and even free public transport would outweigh the cost of climate change.

Public transport prices are increasing at a time when we should be cutting the price and increasing the frequency of public transport, says the National Distribution Union who represents bus drivers.

The National Distribution Union represents Howick and Eastern, Ritchies, Urban Express, Birkenhead Transport and Waiheke Buses urban bus drivers, and is the country’s largest transport union.

Auckland train fares rose between 9.4 per cent and 19 percent with bus fares rising by an average of 7.8 per cent on the weekend.

Bus driver and National Distribution Union delegate Jim Kelly from Howick & Eastern buses, says that bus drivers were sympathetic to passengers’ concerns and wanted to work with them to fight for better public transport.

“In a time when we urgently need to be reducing fossil fuels, increased fares are penalising public transport users for reducing carbon emissions and further barriers are being created for the majority of potential public transport users who find it cheaper or more convenient to drive to work,”he said. “For bus drivers, it maintains a tendering system that keeps bus drivers’ wages down to win contracts.”

National Secretary Laila Harré says that affordable and even free public transport is the most socially just solution to reduce greenhouse emissions and provide a living wage for workers.

“We need to find better ways to fund public transport than dipping into the pockets of workers” she said. “It would far outweigh the economic and social costs of climate change and would create jobs.”

The National Distribution Union, Auckland Tramways Union, Akarana Bus Drivers Association and Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union will be campaigning for an Auckland wide Multi-Union Multi-Employer Collective Agreement mid year.

The union supports the rights of public transport users and has researched and was inspired by the Los Angeles Bus Riders Union worker-community coalition. www.busridersunion.org


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