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Published: 2009-10-15 00:00:00

Hamilton bus fares are set to rise 10 to 50 cents from December to help cover funding shortfalls and bring fares more into line with those in other main centres.

Environment Waikato’s finance and audit committee has today endorsed the increases, which still need to be approved by the full council.

Regional Passenger Transport Committee chairman Norm Barker said the proposed increase followed consultation and careful consideration by EW and Hamilton City councillors.

"We have looked at all the options to maintain the current levels of service and we believe we have put forward the best mix of fare prices, which are still among the lowest in New Zealand in the main centres."

EW’s land transport operations manager Bevan Dale told the committee that the council had consulted with the community and Hamilton City Council about the need to increase bus fares over each of the next three years. This was because the government had signalled passenger fares needed to increase to ensure bus users were paying a greater share of the cost.

This, coupled with the New Zealand Transport Agency’s recent decision not to grant EW as much subsidy as it needed to run planned services, had added to upward pressure on fares.

"The agency has put more money into roads and is only putting additional funds into passenger transport where there is significant traffic congestion, Wellington and Auckland.

"The impact of this funding decision is that if we do not increase fares we face a $1.2 million shortfall this year," Mr Dale said.

The council would have to further increase fares over the next two years to continue to provide the existing level of service, he said.

Under the increases, adult cash fares are set to rise 10c to $3, while child cash fares would rise 50c to $1.80.

BusIt Card fares for adults would rise 25c to $2.20, by 30c for children to $1.30 and by 20c to $1.60 for those aged 60 and over.

The higher rate of increase in new fares for children is to better reflect the actual costs involved in carrying children and young people, said Mr Dale.

"It’s never easy raising fares but these increases are necessary to ensure we can keep servicing the growing demand for buses in Hamilton."

The following graph compares Hamilton’s proposed increases with existing fares in other centres.

General fares:

 

City

Cash

Cash

Concession

Concession

 

Adult

Child

Adult

Child

Dunedin (1)

$3.10

$1.90

$2.79

$1.71

Whangarei (2)

$3.00

$2.00

$2.50

$1.60

Tauranga (3)

$2.50

$1.50

$2.00

$1.20

Christchurch (4)

$2.80

$1.40

$2.10

$1.05

Hawkes Bay (5)

$3.00

$1.50

$2.50

$1.20

Auckland (6)

$3.20

$1.80

$2.85

$1.60

Hamilton

$3.00

$1.80

$2.20

$1.30