David Bainbridge-Zafar plead to council at the annual plan submission hearing yesterday that the Dunedin City Council should bear the financial weight of subsidising free buses rather than the Otago Regional Council.
While the ORC was responsible for buses, not the DCC, Mr Bainbridge-Zahar was not overly concerned about free buses being available in the Otago region.
"It’s for Dunedin city so DCC should fund it.
The ORC had recently signed on to the national free fares campaign and the Green Party included in their manifesto a pledge to make buses free.
He said the transition to free buses was inevitable, and Dunedin should become known as "the free bus place" by being the first city to pioneer the scheme.
Some councillors questioned why Mr Bainbridge wanted the city council to fund the scheme rather than the regional council.
Cr Jim O’Malley said that a $4-6 million investment would require a 4% rates rise.
Mr Bainbridge-Zahar suggested the council consult the ORC on funding a trial of free buses or pursuing a cost share model with the city council.
"It’s for Dunedin city so I believe it’s for DCC to lead the way."