New bus fares approved today by Environment Waikato’s council are aimed at ensuring users pay a fair share of the direct costs of expanding passenger transport in Hamilton.
The regional council is introducing more buses, to more places, more often to give users more options and to help ease congestion in the city, said deputy chief executive Claire Crickett.
“While everyone benefits directly or indirectly from a sound city bus service, and rates are a significant funder for that reason, having passengers pay a fairer shares of the costs of expanding services is something that has been encouraged by submitters to the passenger transport plan,“ Ms Crickett said.
The increases approved today are:
All the fares have been rounded down to the nearest 10 cents after applying a 15 per cent rise approved as part of the increased emphasis on users pays. It means the actual increases in percentage terms range from 9-15 per cent. The increases become effective from 24 September.
Ms Crickett said the popularity of expanded bus services in Hamilton was shown in patronage figures for last month, which were well above expectations.
“July saw passenger trips in Hamilton jump almost 60 per cent over July 2006 – way ahead of the annual growth rate of nearly 40 per cent in the year to June.
“That 60 per cent growth compares with a budgeted increase around this time of year of about 13 per cent.
“We are hopeful of further strong volume growth, as the extra fare revenue we get from the new increases helps us introduce a wider range of services to support congestion relief and ensure that the bus service grows with the city.”