Cheaper fares wanted

Three Wellington City Councillors are urging the Regional Council to re-think fare prices

Three Wellington City Councillors are calling on the Wellington Regional Council to introduce cheaper public transport fares and use zero emission buses.

The call comes as the Regional Council prepares to begin hearings on its regional public transport plan.

Councillors Sarah Free, David Lee and Iona Pannett have come together to voice their concerns.

"We need to make our public transport assets sweat more - there are times the buses are under-utilised, and so incentives to improve patronage at off peak times make a lot of sense," says Free.

"Such a move would particularly benefit those on low incomes, children and students."

Lee says he is very concerned bus patronage in Wellington continues to decline and questions whether high bus fares in Wellington were contributing to this situation.

"We cannot understand why Wellington bus users have to pay considerably more than users in Auckland and Christchurch," he says.

"There also needs to be equity between bus users and train users. Bus users pay a far greater proportion of the cost of their trip than rail users."

Pannett says the Regional Council needs to embrace opportunities to collaborate with the City Council on these two issues – issues supported by the public through submissions.

"This is a great opportunity for the Regional Council to take a real leadership role in reversing the trend of declining public transport use," she says.

A hearings committee will hear oral submissions on May 27 to 29 and a final plan will go to the Regional Council for adoption in June.

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