Public transport users in the Wellington region are being encouraged to give their feedback on possible changes to how Metlink bus, train and harbour ferry fares are calculated and the kinds of discounts that could be available.
Peter Glensor, Chair of Greater Wellington's Economic Wellbeing Committee, says the Council is looking for feedback on several different options, as part of the fare system review which is carried out every five or six years. This review is separate from the Council's annual review of fare prices.
"We're looking at how we can make the fare system simpler and what steps we can take towards integrated ticketing, where you use just one ticket or card for all bus, train and harbour ferry services."
The current fare system, which came out of the last fare system review in 2006, is based on 14 different zones based on travel from Wellington City. "Is this the right number or do people think there should be fewer zones? And should you pay more per kilometre the further you travel or less, as you currently do?
"Also, in future when we have an integrated electronic ticketing, fares could be calculated in a more sophisticated way. For example, if you use a card and are travelling from Tawa to Waitangirua, instead of paying a standard two-zone fare you could be charged for the particular distance you travel within those zones. We're keen to know what people think of this."
Peter Glensor says discounted fares or concessions are also part of the review. "At the moment all school students, aged 5 to 19, get roughly half price fares. Do people think this should remain, should we have a youth concession where everyone aged 5 to 19 gets a discount or should full time tertiary students get discounted fares? Some off-peak travel is also discounted at present but should there be a concession for travel on all off-peak bus, train and harbour ferry services?
"Of course fares are used directly to pay for services so we need to balance any changes we make with the need to have enough revenue to continue to operate a successful public transport network.
"We're particularly interested in hearing what public transport users think."
People can get more information and give feedback by completing a survey at www.farereview.co.nz
Feedback is needed by Friday 14 September.
There will be more public consultation before final decisions are made.
Any changes to the fare system will be put in place gradually starting from around the middle of next year. Changes may also depend on the timing and progress of other projects such as the integrated ticketing system.