Cheaper public transport for school children

Making Public Transport cheaper for all school children 

Top Line 

  • Policy reduces the cost of public transport for all school children in the next term of Council 
  • This will lead to 355,000 more trips being made by public transport a year and take cars off the road during morning and afternoon rush hours – reducing congestion for commuters 
  • The policy will cost $4.13 million dollars annually 

Investment in Auckland’s sustainable transport network has never been higher, and it’s working. This year we celebrated passing 100 million trips annually for the first time since the early 1950s. 

Keeping that patronage growing is the best way to keep Aucklanders out of congestion and reduce our city’s carbon emissions. That’s why we’re investing billions of dollars into public transport infrastructure, to add much-needed network capacity to facilitate that growth. 

Much of Council’s transport budget is committed to those infrastructure improvements, like the additional $500 million on the City Rail Link, but we need to explore other cost-effective ways to encourage people onto buses and trains. 

In September Auckland Council will introduce fare-free weekends for under 16-year-olds. This and the recent Fare Free Sunday showed that reducing fares is an effective way to encourage young people to use public transport. Council has also working with central government on cutting fare costs and increasing affordability of public transport for those with Community Services Cards. 

Interventions like this policy are comparatively cheap and effective ways to get people on to public transport and keep cash in the pockets of Auckland's families. 

I am proposing this first step in my transport policy, to reduce the cost of taking public transport for all school children. 

Proposal 

To reduce the cost of bus, ferry and train trips for all school children by increasing their subsidy to 50% of an adult fare. 

It is estimated the policy change would lead to an additional 355,000 public transport trips per year. 

The cost, including the increase in services needed to accommodate extra trips and reduction in revenue, would be $4.13 million dollars. 

The current subsidy for children paying Child Fares, including secondary school students, ranges between 40-47% of Adult Fares. 

Over a year of travel to and from school the savings for a student travelling through two zones would be $114. For three zones it would be $171. There will be even greater savings for young people who also use public transport on the weekends and at other times. 

Conclusion 

In giving young people full access to our public transport network, we are investing in encouraging a new generation of Aucklanders to use public transport as their choice for getting around the city. 

Increasing the fare subsidy is the best way to make public transport more affordable for young people all across Auckland, especially those who travel long distances as part of their daily travel. 

Giving teenagers and children the independence to travel to and from school without caregivers driving them provides significant breathing room on our roads in the morning and afternoon peaks, as we see during the school holidays. Every child that is on public transport means one less car journey on our roads. 

There is much more to be done to make public transport the most attractive option for young people and their parents over the next few years. This is simply a start. 

I look forward to discussing much more of my transport policy to Build Auckland’s Future over the next few months. 

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