INDEPENDENT NEWS

Reducing Road Transport Emissions Requires Public Ownership Of Buses

Published: Wed 9 Jun 2021 01:06 PM
Bringing our bus industry back into public ownership is a crucial step for reducing road transport emissions and meeting the goals of New Zealand’s climate change commitments, FIRST Union said today.
"Today’s recommendations from the Climate Change Commission require an expansion of our public transport network, but the current PTOM (Public Transport Operating Model) functionally discourages operators from investing in zero emissions buses, because it raises the cost of their tender bids and make them less competitive," said Jared Abbott, FIRST Union Secretary for Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing.
"With PTOM currently being reviewed, the Government is even considering shelling out for new buses and depots for operators to use, which would essentially turn operators into labour-hire firms whose profit is derived solely from what they can squeeze out of labour costs."
Mr Abbott says the industry needs a substantial overhaul and an increase in public investment if the recommendations of the Climate Change Commission’s report are to be achieved in part through the public transport network, such as major increases in public transport travel distance shares in Auckland and Wellington.
"The Government needs to set the right incentives to get commuters out of their cars and onto public transport - this means increasing the reach and regularity of the network, progressively lowering fares, and building better infrastructure that enable buses to avoid congestion," said Mr Abbott.
"It will also require a sizeable investment in drivers’ wages and conditions to attract new skilled workers to the profession."
"None of this is possible when private operators are clipping the ticket, offshoring the profits that should be going into delivering a quality service that lowers road transport emissions."

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