Transport options  |  2 Dec 2021

Christchurch City Council is throwing its support behind a campaign calling for free public transport nationwide for the under-25s, tertiary students and Community Services cardholders.

The Council’s Urban Development and Transport Committee has agreed today that it should become a member of the Aotearoa Collective for Public Transport Equity (ACPTE) and support its Free Fares campaign.

ACPTE is an alliance of more than 40 groups, including both the Christchurch and Wellington City Missions, the Public Service Association, four Councils, and multiple students’ associations.

“The collective’s Free Fares campaign is asking for central Government to fund free fares for public transport users, starting with low-income groups and under 25-year-olds,’’ says Urban Development and Transport Committee Chair, Councillor Mike Davidson.

“ACPTE believe these groups are the right place to start because they represent a large portion of public transport users who rely on the service the most, but are the most likely to be unable to afford the cost of public transport.

“As a Council that has committed to a zero carbon emissions target for Christchurch by 2045, it makes sense for us to get behind this campaign,’’ Cr Davidson says.

“Fifty-four per cent of Christchurch's greenhouse gas emissions come from transport; most of these are from cars, SUVs, utes, vans and light trucks.

“Free fares will help encourage people to shift transport modes and increase use of public transport, which produces far less emissions per kilometre than private cars.

“As the Government shapes its Emissions Reduction Plan they need bold ideas. Free fares, with urgent and widespread implementation, is one equitable and courageous action that could be taken,’’ Cr Davidson says.

The Committee voted to recommend to the Free Fares campaign that they advocate central government introduce a trial for one year, commencing in time for the 2022 academic year.