Free Fares Might Help ease cost of living in Auckland
Fares Free Public Transport? Does it work and how much could a regular or even non frequent user of Public Transport save from the Fares Free Policy?
From Mayoral Candidate Efeso Collins:
Fares-Free Public Transport Will Put $27 a Week in People’s Back Pockets
New research shows that Mayoral candidate Efeso Collins’ flagship fare-free public transport policy could save around $27 a week for people using public transport regularly, and around $8 a week for less frequent users of public transport.
The current price of an AT HOP card monthly pass is $107.50 for half-price fares. Fares-free public transport will save a regular public transport user relying on a monthly pass $1290 a year, or $26.88 a week (not counting the $10 cost of purchasing a HOP card).
If public transport fares return to full price on 31 January 2023, as has been announced, fares-free public transport could save a regular public transport user relying on a monthly pass $2580 a year, or $53.80 a week.
For a less frequent public transport user making two return two-zone trips a week at $1.95 per trip, fares-free would save a person $7.80 a week, rising to $15.60 when full-price fares return in January 2023. This amounts to savings for less frequent public transport users of $31.20 a month (rising to $62.40 when full-price fares return), and $405.60 a year.
Latest AT data shows a total of almost 42 million (41,218,943) boardings for the twelve months to June 2022; all of these boardings would be fares-free under the new policy.
Mayoral candidate Efeso Collins says, “Fares-free public transport tackles the cost of living by giving people more money each week, as costs rise across the board.”
Collins adds: “Fares-free is good for our climate, our congestion, and our city centres – but most of all it’s good for people, and easing some of the cost burdens that communities face as housing and food costs increase.”
Collins notes: “Council has the power to remove fares in this way, and it’s a simple and affordable step we can take to give people the financial support people need right now. I expect more people will use public transport as a result of this step, and benefit from this reduced cost.”
An earlier poll showed 73% of Aucklanders support fares-free public transport, including 63% of National and ACT voters.
A report published in June by Associate Professor Jen McArthur from University College London, commissioned by FIRST and PSA unions, showed that international case studies demonstrate that fares-free policies can accelerate a mode shift.
A 2021 report by the Helen Clark Foundation, Te Ara Matatika: The Fair Path, had previously reported that in 2019 households in the lowest income quintile spend 28% of their household budget on transport.
The research produced by the Efeso Collins campaign team draws on publicly available data about existing public transport costs in Auckland.
|Regular Public Transport User|
|HOP card monthly pass (half-price)||Hop card monthly pass (full price)|
|Savings from fares-free – whole year (half-price)||Savings from fares-free – whole year (full-price)|
|Savings from fares-free weekly (half-price)||Savings from fares-free weekly (full price)|
|Less Frequent Public Transport User|
|Two-zone trip at half-price||Two zone trip at full price|
|4 two-zone trips a week half price||4 two-zone trips a week full price|
|Less frequent PT user savings monthly (half-price)||Less frequent PT user savings monthly (full price)|
|Less frequent PT user savings per year (half-price)||Less frequent PT user savings per year (full price)|
Whether Fares Free (or basically Free Public Transport) works in getting more people onto public transport and out of their cars or cannibalises Active Modes instead is a hotly debated topic around the world with arguements going both ways (or even non conclusive as of yet).
None the less with energy costs continuing to rise, $27/week extra in the back pocket is definitely worth more than say $2/week from National’s tax cut policy.
Fares Free: A real tax cut indeed!