Lower public transport fares for low-income households

9:55 pm on 25 May 2019

The government has announced plans to lower public transport fares for low-income households through it Wellbeing Budget.

Julie Anne Genter.

Julie Anne Genter Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

In this year's Budget, $4.6 million is being allocated to investigate a scheme to reduce public transport costs for Community Services Card holders.

There are about 900,000 Community Services Card holders in New Zealand.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said they included low-income families, people out of work, some tertiary students and recipients of the disability allowance.

"These are the people for whom the cost of public transport can be a barrier to everyday activities, like making that doctors appointment, job interview, after school activities or visiting friends and family.

"Between 2013 and 2017 the average weekly expenditure on public transport services among people in the lowest income group increased by 63 percent, we know that increasing transport costs hit households on low incomes the hardest," she said.

Ms Genter said central government and councils were working together to understand the potential cost of the scheme and how and when it would be rolled out.

"One of the more difficult or complicated aspects of rolling out this policy at a national level is the fact that regional councils have different policies to fares and ticketing and that's what we need to work through," she said.

The government said the potential sources of funding for the cost of fare concessions are still being explored.