Recommendation to raise Bay of Plenty bus fares
Tuesday, 3 July 2012 11:00 a.m.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Public Transport Subcommittee has received a report recommending an increase to bus fares in the region.
The final decision on bus fare increases will need to made by full Council at a meeting on 16 August.
However, at a meeting in Mount Maunganui on Friday, the subcommittee received the report Bus Fare Increase 2012/13 which shows that bus services in the Bay of Plenty region are highly subsidised, with passenger fares making up about 30 percent of the $10 million it costs to run the service.
Ratepayers and the New Zealand Transport Agency equally share the remaining 70 percent of costs.
The report also shows that fares have not kept up with the rate of inflation since 2009 despite the fact that Regional Council has to make inflation payments to the operators of the services every quarter.
Adult passengers travelling in Tauranga currently pay $2.60 if they pay with cash and $2.08 if they use a Smartride card. Under the new fares they will pay $3 cash and $2.40 with a Smartride card.
Passengers travelling in Rotorua currently pay $2.30 cash and $1.61 with a Smartride card. Under the new fares, they will pay $2.50 cash and $1.75 with a Smartride card.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Public Transport Subcommittee Chairman Doug Owens acknowledged that higher bus fares could be difficult for some passengers but said higher fares were necessary to be able to continue and grow the region's bus services.
"If we don't retain a greater proportion of cash through fares we would need to look at cutting some services," Cr Owens said.
"This is about putting the service on a better footing so that it's in a strong position for the future. The days of high subsidies from Central Government have come to an end and we need to find our own way forward. We're trying to run more services for a record number of passengers, with increasing costs, but with about the same amount of funding.
"Fare increases will also bring Bay of Plenty bus fares into line with comparable services in other regions."
Bus passenger numbers in the Bay of Plenty have increased significantly over recent years, with passenger numbers reaching record highs in both Tauranga and Rotorua in March. Services are reviewed regularly to ensure they are running as efficiently as possible.
"The record patronage we have seen cannot continue without investment. An increase in the amount of costs recovered from users is a necessary part of that investment package."
Fare increases for Whakatane and the Eastern Bay are expected to be about 8 percent.
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