Dunedin may follow Queenstown’s flat bus fare structure

Photo: ODT Files
Photo: ODT Files
Dunedinites could soon pay a $2 flat fare for bus trips, similar to the system introduced in Queenstown two years ago.

However, some have concerns a few will be paying more than they were before.

The Otago Regional Council will today discuss whether to introduce a flat fee for those travelling within the Dunedin bus network.

Under the scheme, passengers would pay a maximum of $3 per trip for all cash fares, or $2 per trip for adults and $1.50 for children with the new tag-on, tag-off Bee Card.

SuperGold card holders would be able to travel at all times for free.

A similar fare structure, introduced in 2017, increased bus patronage in Queenstown by 150%.

The simplification of fares was welcomed yesterday with some caveats.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said it was good see ‘‘ambition’’ from regional councillors.

The move to a simpler fare structure was a long time coming and a step in the right direction, Mr Hawkins said.

Ideally, however, public transport would be free for all.

The changes would also make some trips more expensive; the new fare would be more expensive than the current Zone 1 single fare for adults.

It would bring benefits, not just for the council’s zero-carbon goals, but also allow for greater access to the city.

‘‘From a social inclusion point of view, it is certainly to be encouraged,’’ he said.

Otago University Students’ Association president Jack Manning

said students should be included in the child fare, in a ‘‘general youth fare’’.

It was not fair that students would pay more for travelling a single zone, but giving students without cars access to beaches and other landmarks, in Dunedin would be ‘‘valuable’’ for their mental health.

The move would be welcomed by Dunedin’s elderly, Grey Power Otago president Jo Millar said.

She hoped it would relieve some stress by taking away the worry of exceeding the time limit for free travel, at present between 9am and 3pm.

ORC transport manager Garry Maloney said most passengers travelled across multiple zones and a flat fare would make it more affordable.

‘‘For example, a one-way trip from Mosgiel or Port Chalmers into the Dunedin centre covers three zones and would cost $4.44 under normal fare rates.’’

Otago regional councillors will also today consider a proposal for free travel in Dunedin and Queenstown, until the Bee Card system is fully installed, to ‘‘help avoid confusion’’.

Pending the council’s decision today, details about funding for the fare proposal will be worked through in the coming months.

If the fare structure is approved by councillors, a community consultation will go ahead during a proposed two-week period in June and July, with the aim for a final decision to be made by the end of July.

molly.houseman@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

fantastic! Finally more affordable to use the bus over driving my own car! Please include cycle access so we can ‘ride in bus home’ be nice to see bums on seats rather than empty buses!

Could we please have some environment friendly buses instead of the current underused diesel belching monsters. I came back to Wakari yesterday from the city about 1:30 with 4 other people, and 1 was the driver! And that's normal! What a total waste of money using such a huge bus. Time to get smart and use smaller electric vehicles.

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