Fair fares for Wellington bus users

May 3rd, 2012 at 9:10 am by David Farrar

Tony Randle has analysed the proposed increased fares in Wellington. He finds:

My analysis is that they are unfair because the PT cost increases are due to increased rail costs (to pay for the new trains) so why must bus users be charged more.  My more detailed analysis is attached (I send you the Word version so you can more easily extract elements should you so choose).

 Anyway, I think the it fairer to have rail users pay their share of the costs of improved rail services by increasing the heavily discounted rail fares that are not available to bus commuters.  There is a similar issue with respect to some cities (Wellington and Lower Hutt) paying excessive rates (in the $Ms) to support other areas (Kapiti and Wairarapa) but I have not yet written up my analysis in this area.

seems to have a weird anti-bus fetish. They even tried recently to close some bus lines down, so people would use the trains more.

You can submit on the proposed fare increases up until end of Friday. Tony’s analysis is below.

Fair Fares for Wellington – Bus Fares to Fund Increased Rail Costs

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15 Responses to “Fair fares for Wellington bus users”

  1. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    Fair enough in one sense, but taking Tony Randle’s logic to its full extent, he must also be stating that it is wrong for ratepayers to sudsidise bus or train services they don’t use.

    You can’t have it both ways Tony.

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  2. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    Take the council, regulators and government out of the equation and let the market set the price. If you dont think that’s “fair” walk or drive your car. Fixed.

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  3. swan (665 comments) says:

    “Take the council, regulators and government out of the equation and let the market set the price. If you dont think that’s “fair” walk or drive your car. Fixed.”

    Good point but lets also do the same with roads to remove all distortions.

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  4. graham (2,346 comments) says:

    What is it about trains? Everybody seems fixated on them in Auckland, too. Pity they haven’t worked out a way to get them over the harbour bridge yet, isn’t it?

    I would love to have a rail system to rival London’s subway, but it ain’t gonna happen in the next 50 years or so. Buses are the most cost-effective way to increase public transport in the shorter timeframe.

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  5. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    I’d like to see free buses providing you show your WCC RESIDENT library card.
    Then you’d get the uptake, but they still need 40-50 half size buses for quiet periods on some routes.

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  6. immigant (950 comments) says:

    Public transport in NZ is a collosal waste of time and money. I’m not even sure if it is fixable at all without a huge amount of money invested.

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  7. anonymouse (722 comments) says:

    Wellington Regional Council seems to have a weird anti-bus fetish. They even tried recently to close some bus lines down, so people would use the trains more.

    And Mr Randle could be described as having a wierd anti-rail fetish, who even tried recently to close down the Johnsonville rail line, so people would use buses more…………..

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/transport/news/article.cfm?c_id=97&objectid=10762195

    Aucklanders are being misinformed about the costs of an inner city rail loop, says a man who campaigned to replace trains with buses through tunnels to Wellington’s Johnsonville.

    Tony Randle believes a business case for Auckland’s $2.4 billion central city rail tunnel proposal under-cooked the costs to make it look more attractive than an underground bus system serving more people.

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  8. swan (665 comments) says:

    “Public transport in NZ is a collosal waste of time and money. I’m not even sure if it is fixable at all without a huge amount of money invested.”

    This may be true but the scale difference between buses and rail is massive and worth pointing out.

    In Auckland 6 in every 7 public transport trips are NOT on rail (bus or ferry). But it is rail where vast amounts of money have been and continue to be spent. And thats not even counting the CRL proposal.

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  9. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    “I’d like to see free buses ”

    and pixies and fairies too. What you mean is “I’d like to ride for free on buses paid for by other people”. doesn’t sound as cool though does it?

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  10. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    lets also do the same with roads to remove all distortions.

    Drivers already pay for the roads, with the fuel excise.

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  11. TheContrarian (1,091 comments) says:

    Busing in Wellington can be pretty damned expensive. The upshot is being young and mobile means I can just as easily walk places rather than bus. Hell I can get from Aro Street to Karori in 30 mins on foot which is about the same time as the bus and saves me $5.00 in each direction. If I didn’t feel like walking up the hills I would rather spend that saved $10.00 on a taxi to get up the steep parts and walk home again rather than take the bus.

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  12. swan (665 comments) says:

    “lets also do the same with roads to remove all distortions.

    Drivers already pay for the roads, with the fuel excise.”

    Actually the fuel excise only contributes to 50% of non-state highway roads. The rest comes from rates. And the fuel excise has never paid for the land under many roads in NZ.

    But even if it did, it is still a blunt mechanism. People place hugely varying demands on the road network depending on when and where they drive. It is not right to say that 1 litre of petrol of road use has the same costs everywhere at all times.

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  13. mavxp (492 comments) says:

    Think of it as a congestion surcharge for running busses on city streets.

    In terms of rail in Auckland, how about we start with building the new rail corridors and stations and associated infrastructure and use busses along them until such time as it is economic to switch to rail. Public transport needs to be phased in in such a way that the network is there when the city population (and price of fuel) increase to the point where people need to use it in large numbers. But of course, it needs to be affordable…

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  14. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Passenger rail transport has everywhere in the world, become steadily more costly to run per passenger km in real terms, while the cost of running a car has stayed roughly steady in real terms. And there are cars and cars, just like there is public transport in Manhattan and Tokyo, and public transport in a low density city. Any car with a 1.3 litre engine is superior to public transport in real life; so is almost any car with 2 or 3 people on board.
    If people knew the facts about actual costs and actual energy efficiency of public transport everywhere except a few really high density cities, there should be a revolt.
    This topic is just one of many on which the P.C. Left tells flat-out lies, ignores reality, and makes policy on an ideological basis.
    As for the “real costs” of roads – hey, motorists pay for their car, their petrol, their insurance, their repairs, their tires, and most of them pay enough tax on petrol and property and income to qualify them to claim that they have paid their due towards the cost of their freedom. The cost of roads is only about 5% of the total cost of automobility; the cost of “externalities” is only about another 5%, even according to figures from anti-car activists like the VTPI.
    And people voluntarily pay the costs of owning and driving a car.
    But public transport riders pay only about 30% of the total cost, especially considering capital costs; they do not even cover operating costs. And when you add up the total cost, it is not dissimilar per passenger km as automobility is.
    It is only “cheaper” to its heavily subsidised riders. You do the maths – the cost of a public transport fare; add the missing 70% that you do not pay; and hey presto – close to the cost of running your own car.
    This is just another colossal rip-off; as I said to start with, it is a TREND, it was OK 60 years ago, and was bad enough 30 years ago for transportation economists like Kain and Wohl to be already calling for more honesty in policy making.
    The cost of these subsidies has swallowed up more and more public money, to the point that something will shortly have to give; ratepayers and taxpayers can’t stand the current trends and neither can the many other pressures on public spending.

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  15. Brian (Shadowfoot) (80 comments) says:

    If one of the reasons for subsidising travel to reduce congestion then we would benefit from know if zone 1-3 passengers or zone 4+ passengers more likely to switch to using cars when costs go up?

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