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Buses – lets get some action on the do-able

February 20, 2014

I must confess to a feeling of dismay when I heard that Greater Wellington Regional Council had voted in their draft 2014 annual plan to raise bus fares yet again.

This is despite continual talk about needing to promote public transport, talk of off-peak reduced fares, free transfers, and reduced youth fares.

Wellington bus users pay 55-60% of the cost of bus services, although NZTA policy would allow for a contribution of around 50%.

Bus patronage has been declining, and fare increases are unlikely to help. And yet we have peak time congestion around the basin reserve and other pinch points, for which we are considering multi-million dollar solutions.

Well – here’s my proposal.

We don’t make any decisions on BRT or light rail just yet- and we don’t raise bus fares.

Instead, we implement as soon as possible a short-term, say 2 month trial of off-peak half price fares on all bus routes. 

We could also trial free transfers, that is you could board another bus for free within say 30 minutes of getting off the  first bus.

The present SNAPPER system has all the functionality for this that we would need.

We collect data on the changes in numbers using bus services and the changes in time of use, and make informed and realistic decisions on how to proceed next.

All it really needs is for the political will to do it, and enough communication between the various parties involved.

I say lets get on with the do-able.



From → Transport

  1. Ian Shearer permalink

    Well said Sarah – lets get on with it.

    As part of the preparation for the new sustainable PT system we need to change the law in NZ so that it is the responsibility for every passenger to have a ticket – and not the PT company to provide one. This will facilitate all-door loading which will speed up transfers. This will allow us to save the $40M to install automated ticket barriers on regional stations. A total waste of money.

    These things work in EU cities (e.g. Freiburg) so why not here? But penalties for not having a ticket need to be high to stop people cheating the system, and there will need to be mufti-inspectors. It will require a culture change but will also facilitate cheaper monthly, annual, lifetime, ticket options – and others such as annual student tickets built into student fees.

    Young people in EU are not buying cars – with all the benefits that PT brings to them and the city, and this no-car change in culture is happening in NZ too.

    Lots of do-now at low-cost initiatives are available to improve PT. Lets get on with it! More power to your elbow etc.

  2. Sue Teng permalink

    Hi Sarah,
    Very sensible recommendations from you.



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