Wellington public transport fares to increase

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 12:32 26/03/2012
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Commuters in Wellington's outer suburbs face a 50 cent fare increase for buses, trains and local ferries.

People travelling from zones three to 14 face a 50c hike to the adult cash fare as part of Greater Wellington regional council's annual fare increases.

The cash fare increase will include passengers in Island Bay, Kilbirnie, Karori, Khandallah, Johnsonville and further out.

On top of that, all multi-trip fares, including Snapper, will go up 3 per cent, and child cash fares for zones 7 to 9, 13 and 14 will go up 50c.

The fare increase is another blow to commuters as Wellington City Council also considers increases in parking fees.

Greater Wellington regional council has a policy of increasing fare revenue by 3 per cent a year, but for cash fares it only comes into affect once the increase rounds up to the nearest 50 cents.

Greater Wellington transport spokesman, councillor Peter Glensor, said the increases were in line with the council's policy of having small, regular increases rather than hitting people with big price hikes less often.

"A couple of years ago we decided that we need to look each year at what it costs to use the system. It's better to do that regularly rather than whacking people on a less regular basis."

The costs of running  public transport continued to increase, and those costs had to be met somehow, he said.

Councillors will consider the increases, which will then be included in the draft long-term plan for public consultation, at a meeting tomorrow.

In a report to councillors, officers said the increases would help bring passenger revenue in line with council policy, which says that between 55 and 60 per cent of operating costs should be covered by user charges.

"Given that patronage is not increasing ... the only way fare revenue can increase is through a fare increase."

The cost of operating passenger transport service in the region was expected to be $140 million this year, and the cost was increasing by about 5 per cent a year, the report said.

The report also warned that patronage may drop off because of the increase, "however patronage is steady and seems to have been relatively unaffected by the past fare increases''.

Delaying increases now would mean larger increases in the future, the report said.

A review of the fare structure is also ongoing.

The last time fares were increased was November 1 last year, most multi-trip ticket prices increased by about 5 per cent, and the cash fares for zones 9 to 14 also increased.

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Changes this year:

- All multi-trip tickets (including Snapper, 10 trip, monthly, quarterly and term passes) increase by 3 per cent
- Adult cash fares for zones 3 to 14 increase by 50 cents. For zone 3, that takes the prices from $4.50 to $5.
- Child cash fares for zones 7 to 9, 13 and 14 increase by 50 cents.
- If adopted by Greater Wellington regional council, changes will be effective from November 1.

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