A suite of cheaper Metlink fares incoming as Greater Wellington looks to slash off peak fares & make weekends and public holidays more attractive for families
Discounts on off peak fares on Metlink public transport services will be increased by up to 50 percent, and accompanied children will ride for free on weekends and public holidays as part of a suite of recommended changes to be discussed by Greater Wellington at its Council meeting on 25 August.
The recommendations, made by the regional council’s Future Fares subcommittee and informed by public submissions, include a range of options including: reducing off peak fares from 25% of the full fare to either 35% or 50% and further savings in off-peak periods for all concession holders including tertiary students, children, community services card and accessibility customers. In addition, the committee are recommending the introduction of free child fares at weekends and on public holidays as well as changing the definition of off-peak fares to include before 7am for buses.
Daran Ponter, Chair of Greater Wellington, says that he is looking forward to the discussions with his fellow Councillors and that cheaper fares will mean better outcomes for communities and the environment.
“I want to thank all of the people that made a submission on our Future Fares review. We had over a thousand formal submissions with the process which shows how important it is to get this right for our communities across the region.
“Communities and the environment are at the heart of our future fares programme. We recognise times and travel patterns are changing, we are looking to encourage families into greater use of public transport while also offering greater affordability to those that need it the most. Simply put, more affordable fares mean more people using public transport and the more people using public transport means less carbon in our environment,” says Cr Ponter.
As well as these more immediate steps the Council will also be deciding on future ticketing developments and direction which will be enabled through new technology including the National Ticketing Solution. Enhancements could include fare capping for weekly and monthly travel; the pricing mechanism for combined journeys across bus and train; and new targeted fares products for group, visitor, family and event travel across the Region. Leveraging off the highly successful Airport Service launched in July, Greater Wellington will also be working in collaboration with WellingtonNZ to promote public transport as an integral part of business and event travel across the Region.
Roger Blakeley, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee, says the proposals show Greater Wellington’s ability to look beyond today and put measures in place to keep public transport relevant and at the heart of the region’s economy.
“While there is still considerable analysis and technical development to be undertaken and presented to Council at a later date to enable implementation of some of the policy recommendations, the initiatives build on the full rollout of electronic ticketing across the rail network and mark the maturity of Greater Wellington and Metlink as a key community player. With Let’s Get Wellington Moving, the Tawa ‘on demand’ trial and lots of exciting events on the horizon as we continue to recover through Covid-19, the vison for our region and how people get around is bright and the Future Fares review ensures Metlink will continue to be an essential part of people’s lives,” says Cr Blakeley.
Thursday’s Council discussions will also have an advocacy component with Greater Wellington set to lobby the Government to extend the Community Services Card half price fares initiative to include the Total Mobility scheme.
David Lee, Deputy Chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee says this is about equity and recognising the cost of moving around the region for all people.
“We want the Government to extend the half-price fares to Total Mobility users who include members of the community that have to make very difficult budgeting decisions around travel at the moment. This discount could mean the difference between being isolated at home and instead being empowered to get out and connect with their communities,” says Cr Lee.
One of the recommendations from the Future Fares subcommittee is for Greater Wellington to review its Total Mobility service for better outcomes to the community.
To see all of the recommendations going before Council on Thursday 25 August see the order papers on the Greater Wellington website(external link).