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Public transport could soon be cheaper for 900,000 low income families, the Government has announced.
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter this morning announced that next week's Wellbeing Budget would include new funding to investigate a scheme to make it cheaper for Community Services Card holders to use buses and trains.
There are about 900,000 Community Services Card holders in New Zealand.
"This scheme would make public transport easier to use and reduce costs for low income families," said Julie Anne Genter.
"For too many people transport costs are a real barrier to everyday activities like going to the doctor, taking the kids to school, or visiting friends and family.
"Making trains and buses more affordable for those who need it will help to ensure all New Zealanders have the opportunity to be earning, learning, caring or volunteering.
"Between 2013 and 2017 the average weekly expenditure on public transport services among people in the lowest income group increased by 63 per cent. We know that increasing transport costs hit households on low incomes the hardest."
She said funding of $4.6 million in 2019/20 would be used to cover the cost of operational systems needed to implement the scheme, depending on the outcome of initial investigations.
Potential sources of funding for the cost of fare concessions were still being explored, Genter said.
She said the scheme reflected the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the Green Party and the Labour Party to investigate a Green Transport Card.
Community Services Card holders include people who receive a benefit from Work and Income. Approximately 16% of tertiary students hold a card because they already receive a student allowance.