Auckland Council has announced that discounted off-peak fares are to become permanent on public transport in the city.
The permanent 10% discount is due to come into effect on 7 February.
Also from that date, a daily cap will be introduced meaning residents can travel as much as they like on buses (excluding Skybus), trains and inner harbour ferry services and never pay more than $20 a day.
The discount announcement coincides with Auckland Transport’s annual fare review, which will see an average fare increase of 4%.
AT’s executive general manager Integrated Networks, Mark Lambert, says around half of all bus and rail passengers will see a maximum increase of 35 cents on a journey using their HOP card.
“This year’s fare review is about balancing improvements in value for passengers through new and in some cases reduced fares, improving services where there is demand and balancing use of the public subsidy within the Council Emergency Budget,” said Mr Lambert.
“We’ve tried to keep any general increases as low as possible to encourage people to use public transport given the impacts to numbers since COVID.
“During COVID we trialled reduced off-peak fare prices and we are making that permanent to encourage people to travel when buses and trains are a little quieter.”
Mr Lambert says savings of $10 million have been made through a very small number of service reductions and delaying planned improvements.
“Aucklanders provided their views on this during the Emergency Budget consultation process and we have, where possible accommodated what we’ve heard.”
“Importantly, service changes have not impacted on the geographic coverage or our services or to those requiring public transport as a basic social need.
“The general four per cent increase on individual fares will help reduce pressure on the fare subsidy from Auckland Council and central government while allowing improvements in services including our next steps in transferring to an electric bus fleet.”
Mr Lambert added that recent customer satisfaction surveys indicated that 81% of public transport customers believed their trip provided value for money, with overall satisfaction with public transport at 91%.
Public transport fares go directly back into providing more services on buses, trains and ferries, and enable initiatives such as free weekend fares for 5 to 15-year-olds.
Auckland Transport has also completed the roll-out of integrated fares meaning customers can transfer between buses, trains and ferries and pay just once for their entire journey when they tag on and off with their AT HOP card.
Tag on and off each bus, train or ferry as usual, and AT HOP fares will be automatically calculated for the entire journey, removing the cost of connecting bus and train trips in the same zone as the ferry.
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.
Auckland Transport has introduced or plans additional services in a number of areas:
- Integrated fares were extended to ferry services in July 2020
- City Link: fully electric fleet from February 2021
- Airport Link: fully electric fleet from January 2021
- Waiheke: electric fleet from November 2020
- Hobsonville Point: additional peak ferry services from 25 January 2021
- Various service extensions and additions across the network including the new frequent route added to mitigate Mt Eden station closure from July 2020.
For more on the fare review go to at.govt.nz/farechange