Longer term commitment to cheaper public transport fares needed

19 May 2022

An extension of half price public transport fares over the winter months is a promising start, says LGNZ Chief Executive Susan Freeman-Greene.

“Cheaper public transport fares must be seen as much more than a way to help ease the burden of the rising cost of living on households.

“Climate change is an issue that’s confronting many councils around the country.

“More people need to choose buses, trains or ferries over driving their car if we are to really drive down emissions.

“Simply expecting people to exchange their petrol or diesel vehicles for EVs is not a realistic option for many, at least not in the short to medium term.

“We acknowledge that access to frequent public transport is an issue in our regions, but the majority of New Zealanders live in cities.

“Using public transport is cost-effective and better for the environment. The high fares, however, are a major barrier.

“We have seen an uptick in the number of people choosing public transport since half-price fares were introduced.

“It’s great to see that community cardholders will see the price stay at the current fare indefinitely.

“But to really understand and drive behaviour change we need longer-term funding certainty.

“LGNZ would like to see an extension of the lower fares for all New Zealanders until at least the end of the year. This allows time for a broader conversation to be had between local and central government about how we fund essential services delivered at the local level,” says Susan Freeman-Greene.