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Phil Goff wants free Auckland weekend public transport for under-15s

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is pushing for free public transport for all under 15-year-olds in the city on weekends and public holidays. 

The idea will be included in Mr Goff's proposals for the Annual Plan which councillors will consider next week, and Councillors Chris Darby and Richard Hills are also backing it.

"Making public transport free to under 15 year olds on weekends and public holidays is a no brainer and comes at minimal cost.

"It’ll help encourage more families onto our buses and trains and encourage the next generation of Aucklanders into becoming public transport users," said Mr Goff, who's seeking re-election in October.

"Auckland Transport estimates that the proposal for under 15-year-olds will increase passenger usage by 989,000 a year at times when there is underutilisation of Auckland’s public transport assets," he said.

He's also proposing to integrate ferries into the public transport system, with fixed price ticket charges for travel within certain zones no matter what mode of transport is taken. 

Every ferry passenger who catches a bus or train at each end of the journey using a HOP card would stand to benefit from lower prices as a result.

"Every person on a bus, train or ferry seat is one less in a car on our roads. We have to do everything we can to encourage more people onto our public transport system and I expect free travel for under 15 year olds will help do that," Mr Goff said. 

Auckland’s public transport patronage figures are expected to break the 100 million passenger trips mark in the next few months, having grown by more than 10 per cent in the year to April 2019.

The new proposals are expected to cost $1.1 million.

Auckland CityLink bus Source: istock.com