Posted by: Gregory | March 16, 2012

Metlink News

The newest issue of Metlink News is out. There are bits on Matangi deployment, the Wellington Bus Review, integrated ticketing, an upcoming fare-structures consultation and more.

I’m interested in getting feedback on the ticketing aspects, since they will have wide-reaching effects and soon be consulted on. It’s easy to say that we all want fares to be lower, but there is also the issue of cost recovery. What’s more important? Why? Let’s start up a discussion and have a few ideas on the table before consultation time.

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Responses

  1. Integrated ticketing matters, but there are many other major issues that need to be addressed in the fares review.

    For me, the most important is that the fare system should encourage people to take PT, not discourage them. For many users, the price is too high. That doesn’t mean we have to throw out the fare recovery policy. What it means is we have to find the places where lowering the fares will result in increased use, and therefore maintain fare revenue.

    One proposal I would like to see adopted is to allow an adult with a monthly pass to take children free or for a very modest additional fee on offpeak, counterflow and weekend services. That would encourage families to use public transport. The current fare structure means it is cheaper to take the car, or simply unaffordable to travel far in the region.

    • I’ve heard many people complain about public transport being unsuitable for families. The generalised problem is that car use scales better for grouped trips than public transport, because public transport often ignores the group. There are a few group fares available, but quite inflexible.

      I like the idea of relying on passes and using them to handle scale. In my case, my monthly GetAbout pass handles my work transport and everything beyond that is effectively free. People commuting 3 zones can get this benefit with the Go Wellington pass most months – the crossover between per-trip and the $140 pass is 20.3 working days per 30. Then it’s just a question of how much it would cost to travel with children.

      Obviously, this favours longer trips over shorter trips, People with 1 or 2 zone commutes don’t have the same justification for monthly passes. However, depending on the shape and frequency of the network in the future, there may be more incentive for people to make more trips than just commuting, which lowers the bar for justifying a monthly pass.

      Thinking out loud, this may actually be an argument for lower the number of zones in the region.


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