Fares hike for Aucklanders

Aucklanders hit in hip-pocket as public transport fares escalate

Public transport fares have increased in Auckland, to allow for more regular services ahead of a major overhaul.

Auckland Transport’s general manager public transport Mark Lambert says, although fares have increased on some routes, the new fare-charging system will make life easier for many.

"Improving the fare structure with integrated fares will allow the introduction of the New Network which will see more frequent services on key routes at a minimum average of every 15 minutes, 7am to 7pm, seven days a week," he says.

Auckland is set for numerous upgrades to its public transport system, which should make it a more viable option for commuters.

"This is along with the introduction of the AT HOP card and electric trains on the rail network, is the first step towards the construction of the City Rail Link," says Lambert.

"All of these initiatives are designed to give Aucklanders choices that will offer them the freedom to most effectively use that valuable commodity, time."

AT HOP card users travelling a short distance will see increases of up to 10 cents, while children travelling long distances will actually see their fares drop by up to 16 cents.

Those who choose to pay by cash will pay up to 50 cents more per trip, which should encourage users to get an AT HOP card.

Students and children will also now be eligible for discounted bus fares.

Funding that was contributed by the Heart of the City business organisation and Waterfront Auckland – which made public transport cheaper, is no longer being provided and this has made the fee hikes even more necessary.

Public transport patronage growth has continued strongly over the last year despite an overall fuel price reduction and Lambert says customers are choosing to use improved services rather than sit in traffic congestion.

While petrol and diesel prices have increased over the last few weeks, fuel prices make up only a small percentage of operator costs.

Latest figures show that public transport patronage is at an all-time high. Public transport patronage totalled 76,480,955 passenger trips for the 12 months to January 2015, an annual increase of 9.4 per cent.

Users still only pay 47 per cent of the total cost of public transport and the remainder is provided through New Zealand Transport Authority contributions and rates subsidies.

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