INDEPENDENT NEWS

Annual Public Transport Fares Review

Published: Wed 15 Jan 2020 11:27 AM
Auckland Transport (AT) has completed its annual review of public transport fares which takes effect from 9 February.
The outcome builds upon the direction given by Auckland Council’s Governing Body in May 2019, which approved:
• free weekend public transport for five to 15 year olds (proposed by Mayor Phil Goff in his 2019/2020 budget)
• the integration of fares for ferry trips into the bus and train network making it cheaper for ferry customers to use multi-mode journeys
• a small general fare increase to contribute to additional costs resulting from both enhanced services as a result of increased patronage and inflationary cost pressures
As a result of the latest review, free public transport for five to 15-year-olds over weekends will continue and there will be no changes for those travelling longer distances (5, 6, 7 and 8 zone trips). Ferry fare integration will start early this year.
There will be small increases to other fares to take account of operating cost increases (including inflation and the cost of diesel) which are outside of AT’s control, and the costs of providing more services.
Auckland Transport’s Executive General Manager Integrated Networks, Mark Lambert, says more than half of all fares have been kept at current levels, with others increasing by between three and ten cents per passenger trip, to continue to support the exceptional growth in use of public transport in Auckland.
“Operating costs increasing through inflationary pressures on, for example, diesel, and the introduction of many new bus services, unfortunately can’t be completely absorbed, so we have had to introduce some slight fare increases,” says Mr Lambert.
“The fare changes do not cover the full cost of inflation with the balance covered by service efficiencies and AT’s own cost reductions, and funding increases from Auckland Council and the NZ Transport Agency.”
He says the changes have been kept at the lowest possible level so that public transport continues to remain a cheap and accessible option for Aucklanders.
“The cost of short trips on buses and trains in Auckland is still much cheaper than a number of Australian cities.”
Mr Lambert adds that recent customer satisfaction surveys indicate that 81 per cent of public transport customers believe their trip provides value for money, with overall satisfaction with public transport at 91 per cent continuously for the past 24 months.
Public transport fares go directly back into providing more services on buses, trains and ferries, and enable initiatives such as the highly successful fare free day undertaken in June and the Home Free initiative (on the last Friday before Christmas).
People travelling on the AT HOP card, particularly children, secondary students (40 per cent discount) and tertiary students (20 per cent discount), receive the largest subsidies.
Mr Lambert says that relatively low-cost and frequent public transport services have seen record numbers of people using buses, trains and ferries in the past 12 months.
“It is a priority for AT to continue the phenomenal growth and patronage that we have been achieving as this is one of the key levers to reducing congestion. Over the last 12 months, use of Auckland’s public transport has increased by 7.9 per cent, with 103 million boardings.”
In the past year, AT has introduced additional services in a number of areas:
• More peak bus services for west Auckland, heading into the city centre via the motorway
• More buses servicing central Auckland (Herne Bay, Richmond Road, Ponsonby, Remuera, and Newmarket)
• On the North Shore there are more services from Hillcrest, Beach Haven and Long Bay
• On Waiheke Island five new routes have been introduced (increasing services by 120 per cent)
• Train services further extended into the late evening.
The coming year will see increased peak time services and expansion into new growth areas.
For more go to: www.at.govt.nz/farechange

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