Public transport could soon become cheaper for low income families, the Government announced today.
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said the Wellbeing Budget 2019 will provide funding to investigate a scheme to reduce the costs of public transport for Community Services Card holders.
There are around 900,000 Community Service Card holders in New Zealand. They include people who receive a benefit from Work and Income, low-income families, tertiary students eligible for a student allowance and refugees.
“This scheme would make public transport easier to use and reduce costs for low income families," Ms Genter said.
“Making trains and buses more affordable for those who need it will help to ensure all New Zealanders have the opportunity to be earning, learning, caring or volunteering."
Currently, $4.6 million is being set aside for the scheme. The money would be used to cover the cost of operational systems needed to implement the scheme.
She said for too many people's transport costs are a real barrier to everyday activities.
“Like going to the doctor, taking the kids to school, or visiting friends and family,” she said.
“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.'
Potential sources of funding for the cost of fare concessions and sources of that funding are still being explored, she added.