Unified fare zone plan to get rethink

By Mathew Dearnaley

Councillors want fairness for all suburbs.

New fare zones are to be reconsidered to ensure southern and western suburbs are not disadvantaged. Photo / APN
New fare zones are to be reconsidered to ensure southern and western suburbs are not disadvantaged. Photo / APN

Auckland Council transport politicians want proposed new fare zones common to buses and trains reconsidered to ensure southern and western suburbs are not disadvantaged.

Although they supported a new regional public transport plan at a committee meeting yesterday, they accepted a staff suggestion that the number of zones and their boundaries be reviewed "to ensure they are fair and do not lead to significant changes from current fare levels".

The plan, created by the council-controlled Auckland Transport, includes a revamp of bus routes and a new fare system by about the end of 2014 in which there will be no extra charge for swapping between different bus or rail services within each of seven zones.

Principal council transport planner Josh Arbury said the overhaul of services over the next three years to include an extensive network of high frequency routes of buses at least once every 15 minutes from 7am until 7pm on every day of the week - and more at peak times - would deliver "a vast improvement on now".

"The council strongly supports the regional public transport plan as a whole. This is a key implementation of the Auckland Plan, wanting to radically improve public transport," he told the committee.

But he said adjustments to the proposed fare zones would provide greater equity between different parts of Auckland.

Labour transport spokesman Phil Twyford, who is the MP for Te Atatu, raised concerns last month, saying it would be cheaper to travel 20km from Long Bay to central Auckland than 10km from New Lynn or Onehunga under the existing proposal.

But Mr Arbury said there were possible alternatives, some of which he understood Auckland Transport had looked at.

Public submissions closed this week but the council and local boards have been given extra time to respond to it.

- NZ Herald

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