Generation Zero calls for free weekend buses, higher student discounts, fare caps

Hands on a bus wheel.
A bus drivers hands. Photo credit: Getty

Advocacy group Generation Zero is calling on the Government to make sweeping changes to the public transport fares system.

The group's Freeze the Fares report is asking for free weekend buses, 50 percent student discounts, children under 12 to be allowed to travel free and fare caps.

The suggested fare caps would prevent more than $5 being charged for the shortest distances, and $16 for the longest.

Auckland Transport announced fares for buses, ferries and trains would rise by up to 50 cents in January depending on the distance travelled.

"A small fare increase is needed as any additional revenue generated by new growth resulting from holding fares at current levels is insufficient to meet the costs of providing public transport services without further funding being available," CEO Shane Ellison said at the time.

Generation Zero said in a statement on Wednesday the fare hikes in Auckland highlighted failings with the NZTA's "farebox" policy.

The policy states that organisations have to recover a certain ratio of the cost of operating services from fares.

Most tend to be set between 40 to 50 percent of the operating costs of the service. The rest of the service is paid for by ratepayers, NZTA subsidy and other sources such as advertising or parking fees.

Auckland Transport spokesperson Mark Hannan told Newshub councillor Chris Darby made similar suggestions around fares as Generation Zero.

"Auckland Transport is looking at a number of options but it is too early to make a commitment," he said.

Hannan said Auckland Transport unsuccessfully sought funding from Auckland Council and the NZTA so there would not be a fare increase.

The NZTA has been contacted for comment.


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