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GWRC signals rise for public transport fares

Public transport fares in the region will increase by 6 per cent from April 1, after a decision by Greater Wellington Regional Council [GWRC] in its annual fares review.

All public transport fares will remain at half-price until July 1, so the half-price cash train fare from Masterton to Wellington will increase from $9.50 to $10, and the Snapper fare will increase from $7.52 to $7.97.

Once full-price fares return, the cash fare will increase from $19 to $20, and the Snapper fare will increase from $15.05 to $15.95.

GWRC has not raised public transport fares in the past two years, despite the patronage and farebox challenges of covid, pay rises to address the national driver shortages, and high inflation impacting service costs.

Councillors decided to increase fares in order to manage the rising costs, which increased about 13 per cent over the past two years, within current budgets.

Councillor Thomas Nash, chair of GWRC’s Transport Committee, said regular and smaller fare increases over time are unavoidable under current funding settings if GWRC wants to provide better services in the future.

“Ideally, we want to keep fares as low as possible to encourage people to use public transport.

“But we also need to have the money to improve services so we can provide a service that is more convenient than driving.

“We are already putting rates up, so the only way to get where we need is to increase fares at a pace that is easily absorbed by the community.

“This small fare increase will happen in conjunction with additional discounts off-peak and for students and children, so in a lot of instances, the net outcome will still be lower fares for those that rely on public transport the most,” Nash said.

Public transport costs are funded from three main sources: Fares, rates, and national funding received via Waka Kotahi NZTA.

Greater Wellington uses the annual fare review to adjust the contribution of one of those funding sources to share costs equitably and sustainably in the long term.

It looks at cost and revenue expectations and determines the extent of any fare adjustments needed to balance the user contribution with public funding.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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