Off Peak Transit Fares to be a Permanent ‘Fare’ in Auckland.

This is only the beginning

The annual Fare Review for Auckland’s transit has been done by Auckland Transport. While there is a 4% rise signalled which I will talk about later there is also the news about off-peak fares and caps.

From Auckland Transport:

Off-peak fares set to become permanent

18/01/2021 08:56 AM

Discounted off-peak fares are to become permanent on public transport in Auckland. The permanent ten per cent discount will come in on 7 February. It means cheaper fares for everyone using AT HOP, travelling between 9am and 3pm and at night weekdays and all weekend. Also from that date, a daily cap will be introduced meaning you can travel as much as you like on buses (not Skybus), trains and inner harbour ferry services and never pay more than $20 a day.

Auckland Transport’s annual fare review will see an average fare increase of four per cent which is consistent with the approach set out during Auckland Council’s consultation on the Emergency Budget last June.

AT’s executive general manager Integrated Networks, Mark Lambert, says around half of all bus and rail passengers will see a maximum increase of 35 cents on a journey using their HOP card. “This year’s fare review is about balancing improvements in value for passengers through new and in some cases reduced fares, improving services where there is demand and balancing use of the public subsidy within the Council Emergency Budget. We’ve tried to keep any general increases as low as possible to encourage people to use public transport given the impacts to numbers since Covid. During Covid we trialled reduced off-peak fare prices and we are making that permanent to encourage people to travel when buses and trains are a little quieter.” Mr Lambert says savings of $10 million have been made through a very small number of service reductions and delaying planned improvements.

“Aucklanders provided their views on this during the Emergency Budget consultation process and we have, where possible accommodated what we’ve heard. Importantly, service changes have not impacted on the geographic coverage or our services or to those requiring public transport as a basic social need. The general four per cent increase on individual fares will help reduce pressure on the fare subsidy from Auckland Council and central government while allowing improvements in services including our next steps in transferring to an electric bus fleet.” 
Mr Lambert adds that recent customer satisfaction surveys indicate that 81 per cent of public transport customers believe their trip provides value for money, with overall satisfaction with public transport is at 91 per cent.

Public transport fares go directly back into providing more services on buses, trains and ferries, and enable initiatives such free weekend fares for 5 to 15 year olds. 
Auckland Transport has also completed the roll-out of integrated fares meaning customers can transfer between buses, trains and ferries and pay just once for their entire journey when they tag on and off with their AT HOP card.

Tag on and off each bus, train or ferry as usual, and AT HOP fares will be automatically calculated for the entire journey, removing the cost of connecting bus and train trips in the same zone as the ferry.

People travelling on the AT HOP card, particularly children, secondary students (40 per cent discount) and tertiary students (20 per cent discount), receive the largest subsidies.

Auckland Transport has introduced or plans additional services in a number of areas:

  • Integrated fares were extended to ferry services in July 2020
  • City Link: fully electric fleet from February 2021
  • Airport Link: fully electric fleet from January 2021
  • Waiheke: electric fleet from November 2020
  • Hobsonville Point: additional peak ferry services from 25 January 2021
  • Various service extensions and additions across the network including the new frequent route added to mitigate Mt Eden station closure from July 2020.

Bus and train fares

  • Adult fares
City Link$0.55$0.60
1 zone$3.50$4.00$2.00$2.20
2 zones$5.50$6.00$3.55$3.90
3 zones$7.50$8.00$5.00$5.40
4 zones$9.00$10.00$6.40$6.80
5 zones$10.50$11.50$7.60$8.00
6 zones$8.80$9.20
7 zones$10.00$10.40
8 zones$11.10$11.60
9 zones$12.20$12.60

(Cash fares are not available on buses)

Source: Auckland Transport

Auckland Council’s Finance Committee chaired by Orakei Ward Councillor Desley Simpson, and NZTA are both letting us down in terms not stumping the extra cash needed to actually reduce fares as well as get the Fare discount higher than 10%. So pressure needs to go on the Mayor, Councillors, and the Transport Minister to ensure proper funding is not only done for better Fares but also commission the $75m needed to have ALL DAY frequent services regardless of time of day.

That aside the permanent instillation of Off-Peak Fares means the infrastructure is now in place and we can extend the discount from 10% to say 50% in due time.

This is a good move from Auckland Transport and now onus goes onto Councillors, and the Minister to stump the cash to have the scheme expanded tomorrow!