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Generation Zero wants to see bus fares halved from Dunedin’s current $2 flat fare and even cheaper, or free fares, for students, Supergold card holders, and community service card holders.
Public transport was a common topic among those who spoke to Otago regional councillors during hearings for the long-term plan 2021-31 yesterday.
The Otago Regional Council operates bus services across Dunedin and Queenstown.
Generation Zero’s Adam Currie said bus fares should not be expected to cover as much of the cost of running buses as they do.
He suggested the regional council seek funding from the Dunedin City Council, increase parking costs, and lobby central government for extra funding.
Reducing fares could help increase bus patronage and support the council’s ambition of getting people out of private vehicles, he said.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said it was still the city council’s view it should govern and plan public transport.
While it would not mean the bus service would “magically” improve, the city council was in charge of every other part of the transport network and it made sense for one council to run the entire system, he said.
University of Otago chancellor Royden Somerville said retaining the same service in Dunedin and expecting change was more wishful thinking than effective transport planning.
Forest & Bird Otago Southland regional conservation manager Rick Zwaan said he would like to see public transport expand in areas that were under-served or not served at all in Otago.