Bus and trains fares are set to rise significantly in Auckland and Christchurch if the Government pushes ahead with their plans to raise a greater share of the costs from passengers, the Green Party said.
The NZTA Board is meeting today to approve the Government’s recommendation of setting a farebox recovery ratio of 50% for the main cities. The ratio determines the proportion of total service costs bus and train passengers pay. Current ratios are 44% in Auckland and 41% in Canterbury.
“Forcing regional councils to raise their bus and train fares will lead to fewer people riding buses and trains, the cutting of some services, and greater numbers of cars on our roads,” said Green Party Transport spokesperson, Gareth Hughes.
“This is a lose-lose situation for motorists and bus & train commuters alike.
“There are only a few, exceptional cities around the world with farebox recovery ratios set at 50% or above. The average ratio for US cities with basic transit systems is 21%. In US cities with modern, high quality buses and trains, the ratio is 39%,” Mr Hughes added.
“By arbitrarily raising the farebox recovery ratio to 50%, the Government will stop rapid patronage growth dead in its tracks. Late night and early morning bus and train services also risk being cut as regional councils look to save money.”
Regional councils will find it difficult to attain mandated farebox recovery ratios without raising fares and cutting services. In Auckland, for example, the most profitable public transport routes are privately owned, so the Auckland Regional Council have little wriggle room to cross-subsidise services.
“This Government lacks a vision to actually enhance the choices made available to people to get about. Their singular focus to date has been on roads leaving bus and train users stranded.”