MP cries foul over 'unfair' travel zones

By Mathew Dearnaley

It's like Alabama in 1955, says Twyford.

Photo / Natalie Slade
Photo / Natalie Slade

Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford is crying foul over proposed public transport zones making it cheaper to travel to downtown Auckland from the North Shore than from other areas an equal distance away.

He claims the scheme discriminates against residents of lower-income western and southern suburbs, making it reminiscent of racially segregated "Alabama, 1955".

A draft published by Auckland Transport for public discussion shows eight travel zones proposed for introduction between the middle of next year and the end of 2014.

Unless the plan is radically overhauled after submissions on the regional public transport plan close on November 5, passengers will be able to travel to central Auckland from as far north as Long Bay for a two-zone fare, at a price yet to be determined.

But it will cost a three-zone fare to travel from anywhere west of New Lynn or south of Onehunga or Otahuhu, despite New Lynn and Onehunga being 10km from the city centre, compared with 20km from Long Bay to downtown.

Mr Twyford, Labour's transport spokesman, said that was blatantly unfair on low-income working families in his area and South Auckland who relied on public transport.

"It looks like the public transport map for Alabama, 1955.

"The parts of West Auckland I represent are probably the worst served by public transport of any area in Auckland City. I don't believe they should be disadvantaged in this way."

Mr Twyford said he was extremely encouraged by other aspects of the draft plan, which includes 15-minute or better bus services on many more routes than now, including along the Northwestern Motorway and up and down the Te Atatu peninsula.

Auckland Transport spokeswoman Sharon Hunter said the map was from a plan published four years ago, and the organisation looked forward to submissions from Mr Twyford and anyone else.

- NZ Herald

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