Saturday, April 13, 2024

LGNZ cautions against end of public transport subsidy

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has cautioned the Government that the end to half-price public transport fares could see an increase in people switching back to using their cars. 

As part of the Government’s cost of living package, fares on all public transport services around the country were reduced from 1 April this year. The subsidy is set to end on 31 March 2023.

“It’s great that this has been in place for a year, it’s a good length of time to really promote behaviour change,” said LGNZ President, Stuart Crosby. 

“Over half of New Zealanders now live in major metro areas. Our concern now is that going back to full fares for the majority of New Zealanders see those who were motivated by price get on a bus, train or ferry will next year choose to drive instead. 

“We are pleased to see the Community Connect policy take effect even after the subsidies to fares end. It will at least mean that public transport is more affordable for people with a Community Services card.”

He said the rising cost of living was hitting all New Zealanders in the back pocket.

“There’s no doubt in an election year, that this is top of mind for all the political parties.”

“We strongly urge central government politicians to think about the benefits of reduced fares on public transport when they’re developing their transport policies. 

“Not only does additional Government support for public transport help reduce the cost burden on households, it’s also a key part of a wider set of initiatives to lower emissions. 

“We do acknowledge, that making fares cheaper is not a silver bullet. We also need to invest on better routes and ensure more New Zealanders have access to good, reliable public transport,” said Mr Crosby.

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