Work begins to drop public transport fares for low income households
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Wellbeing Budget will include new funding that could make it cheaper for low income households to use public transport.
Budget 2019 will provide funding to investigate a scheme to reduce the costs of public transport for Community Services Card holders.
“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 percent. We know that increasing transport costs hit households on low incomes the hardest.
“Budget 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 are still being explored.
“Central government and local councils are working together to better understand the potential cost of the scheme and how and when it could be rolled out.
“This scheme reflects the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the Green Party and the Labour Party to investigate a Green Transport Card. I’m excited to be leading this important work to make this scheme a reality,” Julie Anne Genter said.
Note for Editors
There are around 900,000 Community Services Card holders in New Zealand. Community Services Card holders include people who receive a benefit from Work and Income, such as recipients of an accommodation supplement or a disability allowance, those not in paid-work, low-income families, people living in social housing, tertiary students that are eligible for a student allowance, and refugees. Approximately 16 percent of tertiary students hold a Community Services Card because they already receive a student allowance.