Timaru bus fares on the rise
Timaru bus fares are going up, just weeks after new routes were launched.
From September 30, an adult single fare will increase from $1.70 to $2 if paid in cash, or from $1.27 to $1.50 if the traveller pays by Metrocard.
For children, the fares will rise from $1.10 to $1.50 for cash purchases, and from 82c to $1 for Metrocard. The Temuka and Washdyke route fares will not change.
Environment Canterbury (ECan) southern region transport officer Tony Henderson said the increases were "unavoidable".
"The Government has set a target that 50 per cent of bus services need to be recovered through fares by 2017.
"Timaru's recovery rate is about 25 per cent at the moment, so obviously this puts us in a difficult position," Mr Henderson said.
"We could have increased the fares by more if we wanted to achieve an immediate recovery rate of 50 per cent."
In July, ECan replaced Timaru's four routes - Gleniti, Grantlea, Marchwiel and South End - with the North, West and South routes, which run on weekdays only, and the Timaru Link, which runs on Saturdays as well as weekdays.
As of last week, 19,000 passengers have used the service since its launch - a 22 per cent increase on the same period last year.
"It is unfortunate timing," Mr Henderson said.
"We introduced the new routes in order to increase patronage, and so far, it appears to be successful. We don't expect passenger numbers to be affected too much by the slight increase."
ECan last increased the Timaru fares by a similar amount about three years ago.
He said it was unlikely fares would rise again in the short term, despite Timaru being well off the revenue targets.
"If we increased the fares by too much, nobody would use the bus. It's a delicate balancing act, but Timaru's fares are among the lowest in the country."
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