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Free Fares Coalition Welcomes Extension Of Half-price Public Transport

The Free Fares coalition welcomes news that the Government will extend half-price public transport.

“Affordable public transport is helping to ease cost of living pressures,” said Free Fares spokesperson Kate Day.

“Right now, half-price fares are transforming lives. People are visiting family more often, and accessing healthcare, jobs, and education they previously couldn’t afford to get to. People can join in more of what their regions have to offer.”

“Affordable public transport is also helping the climate. More people are leaving their cars at home, reducing the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Waka Kotahi research found that 3 to 4% of New Zealanders switched from car to public transport because of half-price fares. Among people riding public transport, one in three used it more often because of the subsidy.” [1]

“The Government is right to lock in these benefits.

"Reducing fares is good value for money. Half-price public transport costs roughly one-tenth of the government’s cut to fuel excise tax and road user charges. [2]

"It’s also popular. Two polls from November 2022 showed that 4 in 5 adult New Zealanders support the government making half-price transport permanent. [3]

“We are calling on the Government to go further. They should use Budget 2023 to make half-price fares permanent for everyone, and free for the groups that need it most: under-25s, tertiary students, Community Services Card holders and Total Mobility Card holders and their support people.”

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“In a climate emergency, we should use every available lever to reduce emissions. We acknowledge the need for investment to improve frequency and reliability of services; this should come in tandem with keeping public transport affordable. The Government should lock in half-price fares for everyone, for good.”

[1] Based on data from June and July 2022. See Waka Kotahi research note, p. 17

[2] According to a Beehive press release: $63.1 million for five months of half-price public transport, compared to $589 million for the cut to fuel excise tax and road user charges.

[3] These polls were by Horizon Research and 1News Kantar public polls:

www.1news.co.nz/2022/12/07/poll-huge-support-for-permanent-half-price-public-transport

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