Bus, train commuters likely to face fare rises

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013

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A reduction in the discount traditionally enjoyed by those who pre-pay for their public transport is being proposed by Greater Wellington Regional Council officers.

The 2013-14 draft Annual Plan, which will be tabled at a council meeting today, also floats an average rates increase of 2.6 per cent.

Bus and train operators are required to offer a minimum 20 per cent discount on multi-trip tickets and stored value cards.

But changes being proposed by council officers would see that reduced to 17 per cent in zone 1 - an area of heavy public transport usage encompassing the Wellington CBD, Aro Valley and Thorndon.

In those areas, non-cash adult fares would rise 3.8 per cent, or 6 cents a trip.

Public transport fares are reviewed annually, in line with the council's policy of introducing small, frequent increases rather than large, infrequent ones.

But zone 1 fares have not increased since 2010 and require "an element of catch-up" from last year in order to avoid a large percentage increase next year, council officers say.

Under changes proposed for 2013-14, non-cash fares would go up for adults and children across all zones, ranging from 4c increases in some areas to 35c hikes elsewhere.

Adult cash fares for zones 8, 11, and 12, and child cash fares for zones 11 and 12, would all increase by 50c.

The proposed fare increases would kick in on October 1 after public consultation through the Annual Plan process.

Greater Wellington's 2013-14 Annual Plan relates to year two of the 2012-22 long-term plan, which forecast a 9.4 per cent rates increase for the upcoming financial year. The main changes bringing this down include delays to a review of the regional public transport plan and the introduction of integrated ticketing.

The long-term plan also provided for refurbishment or replacement of the Ganz Mavag train fleet, but Greater Wellington decided recently to buy 35 more Matangi trains instead. That deal is still being negotiated.

Meanwhile, council officers are also proposing to stop charging for staff time at a standard rate of $110 per hour.

Instead, they have proposed a tiered system that would see the charge for consent processing services increase to $115 per hour, the charge for technical or science expert services jump to $130 per hour, and the charge for administration services drop to $110 hour.

Moving to a tiered system would reflect the fact the council is endeavouring to undertake an increasing amount of science work in-house.

SETTING RATES

Proposed 2013-14 region-wide rates per $100k of capital value*

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  • Wellington City - $60.75
  • Lower Hutt City - $98.71
  • Upper Hutt City - $94.39
  • Porirua City - $91.97
  • Kapiti Coast District - $67.64
  • Masterton District - $38.76
  • Carterton District - $46.83
  • South Wairarapa District - $49.04

*Does not include WRS rate of $14 or any targeted rates

Key projects in the 2013-14 annual plan

  • Continue the procurement of more Matangi trains
  • Begin five-year review of regional pest management strategy
  • Complete the Boulcott stopbanks work in the Hutt Valley
  • Upgrade Queen Elizabeth Park
  • Continue to work with other councils on issues like amalgamation and the Wellington city public transport spine study

Contact Michael Forbes
Transport and metro reporter
Email: michael.forbes@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @michael_forbes

- The Dominion Post

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