Greater Wellington to consider extending half price fares
Greater Wellington will consider extending half price fares while it works towards implementing age-based public transport discounts announced on 18 May in Budget 2023.
The discounts, which let children under-13 ride for free, and under 25-year-olds at half price, can be introduced by Public Transport Authorities, when possible, from 1 July.
With the government’s half price fares initiative finishing next month, Greater Wellington Transport Chair Thomas Nash said it would be sensible for the regional council’s public transport wing to temporarily extend half price fares.
“Metlink needs more time to provide the age-based discounts so extending half price fares is the most practical interim solution. For families, it will ease the burden of rising costs as they wait for the discounts they’re entitled to,” Cr Nash said.
“This interim solution can be funded from existing council budgets, but we’ve asked the government for help as it’s indicated funding support for implementing the discounts is available.”
The discounts need to be introduced in a fair and consistent way, Cr Nash said.
“We can’t ask bus drivers to discern the age of passengers, so we’ve tasked our electronic ticketing partner, Snapper, with developing a registration portal.
“We hope this digital solution will be ready in August, so Snapper card holders can receive the discounts.”
If the regional council agrees to temporarily extend half price fares from 1 July, no passenger will pay more than they currently do for public transport.
Free travel for 5–12-year-olds, however, will not be available until the Snapper portal is ready.
“We know parents will be disappointed by the delay,” said acting Metlink Group Manager Fiona Abbott.
“But for families who use public transport, the delay could be offset by adult fares temporarily remaining at half price.
“Metlink is grateful for their patience while we work as fast as we can to implement the discounts.”
Community Services Card holders can receive half price fares from 1 July by loading a concession on to their Snapper cards through the Snapper website.
Greater Wellington will consider temporarily extending half-price fares for all passengers at an Extraordinary Council meeting on 22 June.
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