Environment Waikato’s finance and audit committee has today approved proposals for Hamilton bus fare rises designed to help EW cope with cost increases and other financial pressures.
If endorsed by EW’s full council later this month, Hamilton bus fares will rise by between 10 cents and 40 cents from April.
The regional council’s land transport operations manager Bevan Dale said the rise was signalled in the regional passenger transport plan and EW’s annual plan for 2008-09.
"When we consulted on options for expanding bus services, people signaled they wanted us to go ahead with a reasonably substantial range of improvements which involved a 10 per cent increase in the Hamilton passenger transport rate.
"But not all the increased cost of services can be met by the extra rate, so we are proposing that bus users themselves contribute a greater share through this fare increase. We believe this is a fair and balanced approach.
"If fare increases were not part of the package, then the rate rise would have needed to be 17 per cent.
"Other financial pressures include the cost of building a new bus for Hamilton rising by $50,000 and drivers asking our contractors to lift their rates of pay."
Mr Dale also said fuel prices remained "volatile".
"Given these various factors, we believe it is prudent to lift fares by 10 cents to 40 cents, or from 8 per cent to 12 per cent.
"This will help us ensure we can keep delivering our increasingly popular bus services at a level that the community wants, and in a way that responds to ongoing New Zealand Transport Agency requirements for fares to meet a greater share of costs."
Mr Dale said EW was acutely aware of the need to restrain price increases in difficult economic times but another rise was possible next year to help meet the income requirements needed to fund the ongoing growth.
Under the proposals, fares for someone using an adult BusIt card would increase 8 per cent (15c) to $1.95, while a child’s BusIt card fare would rise 11 per cent (10c) to $1. Day Saver fares are due to rise nine per cent or 40c to $5.
The adult cash fare would rise 12 per cent (30c) to $2.90, while the child cash fare would increase 8 per cent (10c) to $1.30.
The fare for people over 60 would increase by 8 per cent (10c) to $1.40.
For more information on bus services go to www.busit.co.nz or phone 0800 BUSLINE.