Greater Wellington today welcomed the news that the government will permanently fund cheaper public transport fares for community service card holders.
Greater Wellington chairman Daran Ponter said this type of concession had been strongly supported during the planning for Greater Wellington’s rate review and it was great to see the government targeting funds to those who need it most needed.
“As the previous initiative on half-price fares has shown, fare reductions have a role to play in attracting people to public transport and this funding will directly benefit community members who do not have the luxury of alternative travel options,” says Cr Ponter.
However, he warned that the mode-switching challenge – getting people out of the car and into public or active transport to reduce emissions and manage traffic congestion – will not be met by fares alone. lower.
“Greater Wellington sees the reduced fares as part of an integrated package of climate-friendly improvements and additions to the network designed to attract more people to public transport,” says Cr Ponter.
Recent improvements include the announcement of Snapper across the entire Metlink rail network, an ‘on-demand’ trial in Tawa providing feeder buses to the wider Metlink network and key community destinations, and plans to improve the access to Naenae station.
“Everyone is playing their part in achieving our goal of attracting and retaining new and existing passengers on public transport, but extending fare reductions, especially to those who need them most, will prove to be a very positive”, adds Cr Ponter.
Samantha Gain, chief executive of Metlink, said growing footfall will bring its own challenges, with service delivery still impacted by illness and isolation of staff due to the pandemic.
“We have seen a steady increase in online passenger numbers with people’s growing confidence in returning to work and leisure activities, with bus passenger numbers rising from 54% of pre-COVID ridership levels in March to 73 % in April, an astonishing increase for just one month.
“Providing sufficient capacity – more buses, more trains and more services – will stretch Metlink, but we view growing demand as a positive issue that we will actively manage to make public transport the first choice for travelers and community members. community,” says Samantha Gain.
Metlink says reduced fares for community service cardholders will be introduced as soon as possible with a number of details still to be ironed out with the government.
“Once we have council approval, we will prioritize carrying out the necessary background work with the support of the Department of Social Development, our operators and Snapper so that we can introduce the concession. as soon as possible.
“Our ambition is to implement a Snapper card-based system that provides dignity and respect to community service cardholders where discounted rates are automatically applied,” says Samantha Gain, Managing Director of Metlink.
The government has announced that it will end its half-price fare initiative by the end of August and introduce the new Community Services Card funding for public transport as part of the budget. ‘today. More details can be found on the dedicated Budget website: https://budget.govt.nz/budget/2022/wellbeing/summary-initiatives/index.htm
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