NZ youth lap-up PT

New study finds New Zealanders under-35 are increasingly turning to public transport

Young kiwis are more dependent on public transport than previous generations, according to the New Zealand Transport Association (NZTA) Public Transport and the Next Generation report.

Thirty-five per cent now use public transport, but this will increase to 50 per cent in the next five years.

The survey of more than 1000 public transport users aged 15 to 35 also found that increased investment to increase the frequency of services and better coverage is needed, older users also rank these as the two top priorities.

Generation Y also value travel that is affordable and convenient and may choose to drive instead, if they must catch more than one bus or train to get to their destination.

Young people say free Wi-Fi and real-time GPS bus-locator services should also be prioritised, especially by urban bus operators, according to the study.

People under-35 rely more heavily on after-hours and off-peak services to get them to their social engagements.

Young people typically reduce their reliance on public transport when they have children and often chose where to live based on proximity to reliable public transport.

Demand is high for free transfers, as it allows for cheaper journeys when connecting services, and catching more than one service is something younger people are more likely and willing to do.

Generation Y has lower rates of licensing, vehicle registration and car ownership globally and this is also true in New Zealand.

Possible reasons for younger people’s reliance on public transport are high levels of tertiary education and parking restrictions there, delays in home purchases and starting a family compared to their parents, increased viability of the mode due to service improvements and increased environmental concern.

Public transport patronage in Auckland will increase by more than 40 per cent over the next 10 years, so increased public transport investment will be needed to meet this demand.

The high level of demand for public transport use shows there is an opportunity for New Zealand to improve patronage, but services must offer modern conveniences, GPS tracking, cover a wider area and be reliable.

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