Mayor keen on some free bus fares

Bus patrons at the bus hub in Great King St, Dunedin.PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Bus patrons at the bus hub in Great King St, Dunedin. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
The Government should fund the cost of enabling some bus passengers to travel free of charge, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins says.

The mayor and most Dunedin city councillors have backed a national campaign for free fares on public transport for people with a Community Services Card, those aged under 25 and all tertiary education students.

Mr Hawkins said it was a campaign worth supporting because of environmental benefits from people using public transport and the potential to give people better access to city sites. Cr Marie Laufiso said free fares would empower people to participate more fully in society. Councillors voted 10-4 to support the campaign.

Those against were Doug Hall, Mike Lord, Lee Vandervis and Andrew Whiley. Free items always had to be paid for by someone, Cr Vandervis said. Cr Whiley said free fares would not necessarily create a better bus service.

Cr Steve Walker said more people would use bus services if there were free fares.

He said cyclists in the city had increased ‘‘exponentially’’ since infrastructure had been set up for them — a claim contested by Crs Vandervis and Jules Radich.

‘‘Wretched’’ cycleways remained mostly unused, Cr Vandervis said.

Cr Chris Staynes said people needed to be persuaded that getting on a bus was cheaper than taking a car and free fares would remove all doubt.

If the Government chipped in with free fares, the council’s part of the environmental bargain should be to increase the cost of commuter car parking in the city, he said.

Comments

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Free buses are the way to go. People will leave their cars at home and the city will be a better place to live.

Do you seriously believe for one second that people will leave their car at home and go buy their weeks groceries and cart them home on a bus? Just as likely as they will ride their bike down Stuart St to buy anything.

We elect some very strange councillors. If they think free bus trips (or free anything) are such a great idea, why don't they have a whip round among themselves and pay for it that way? At least then they'd have some credibility.

So according to Councillor Walker, more people would use the bus if it was free - so what do they use now??? Their car? Which costs more to run than a bus fare.

The Greens really don't get the fact that someone always pays. Delusional thinking that there is some sort of bottomless bucket of government or council money that just self fills from the sky seems to drive many of their policies.

If bus users don't pay, then taxpayers or ratepayers pay. This bunch have already blown Dunedin's budget sky high saddling future ratepayers with enormous amounts of debt. Now they want central government to do the same. Just Greens idiocy that people can't afford.

whilst been a driver , tradie and car user I would like to see free bus fares, Kids would use it .. rather than persuading mom or dad to drop them off in town etc. and before we go off saying whom pays ... let someone with some financial knowledge and reputation look into costings properly . we already subsidise bus fares via our rates and ORC rates .. yes ORC rate payers out of Dunedin are contributing for something they dont use ! The cost of someone collecting money , banking , tickets , bee cards and machinery all costs ! - not if its free . maybe the insurance on the bus would be cheaper as its not for hire and reward ! plus any traffic off our roads and less carparks taken benefits everyone ! and if the buses were free - they might have people in them !

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