Thousands respond to bus fare plan
TRANSPORT AND METRO REPORTER
Public transport users want big discounts for tertiary students, fewer zones, and they want to pay by the kilometre when travelling across the Wellington region.
Public feedback to Greater Wellington regional council's proposed fare structure changes was discussed by councillors yesterday.
The council received more than 2200 responses through its website and about 20 written responses during its eight-week consultation period.
The Victoria University Students Association also surveyed its members and provided the results to the council. Students represented 35 per cent of the total respondents, reflecting a high level of interest and support for tertiary students discounts.
Councillor Daran Ponter said he understood the desire from students, but people on low incomes and the unemployed felt the same way.
Councillor Peter Glensor acknowledged the strong support for discounted tertiary fares but said the council would have to be careful about how it defined a tertiary student.
"This city is full of people doing their masters in public policy one unit at a time, and they could cost us a lot of money."
There was general support for the principle of fares being as cheap as possible for as many people as possible.
Some respondents said Wellington already had some of the most expensive fares in New Zealand or Australia, and increasing them in the current economic climate would significantly reduce patronage.
Others said a cheap single-zone fare was essential to support people who depend on public transport.
The council will now use the feedback to develop its preferred package of fare changes, which will go out for public consultation early next year.
Councillor Nigel Wilson said he wanted to see the issue of free public transport for people with disabilities addressed sooner rather than later.
WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT
ZONES 45 per cent favoured a shift to five or seven larger zones; 41 per cent wanted the existing 14 zones retained.
FARES 62 per cent supported a pay-per-kilometre system rather than fares based on zones travelled.
PEAK/OFF-PEAK Support for and against an off-peak bus fare was split almost down the middle. There was also a fairly even split over whether a 25, 33 or 50 per cent discount was the most appropriate.
CONCESSIONS 66 per cent supported a tertiary student concession, with 52 per cent of those indicating a 50 per cent discount was the most appropriate. 41 per cent favoured a general under-20s fare rather than the current school student fare.75 per cent wanted the existing concessions for disabilities retained rather than being replaced with a general off-peak fare.
SUPERGOLD CARD Opinions were split over extending the SuperGold card concession to the afternoon peak.
PAYMENT Preference for future payment options were split between a periodical ticket (33 per cent), a trip-by-trip stored-value card (36 per cent) or a capped period fare with a stored-value card (25 per cent).
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