Wellington region welcomes free and discounted public transport fares

Posted: 22 May 2023 | | No comments yet

Greater Wellington Regional Council’s 2023 Budget will fund free and half-price fares for public transport, providing financial relief and increased accessibility for under 13-year-olds and individuals aged 25 and under.

Wellington region welcomes free and discounted public transport fares

Credit: Metlink

The Greater Wellington Regional Council has announced that free fares for children under 13 and half-price fares for individuals aged 25 and under will be funded as part of the New Zealand government’s Budget 2023 announcements, in order to make public transport more appealing and alleviate financial pressure for families.

With many individuals feeling the strain on their wallets, these fare discounts are expected to influence spending patterns, transportation choices and social connectivity. The discounted fares for children and young adults are part of the government’s budgetary measures designed to support New Zealanders in managing the cost-of-living crisis. 

Chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, Daran Ponter, said: “This is fantastic news for people and communities across the country and here in the Wellington region. Many people have been feeling a pinch in the pocket so this will have a real impact on where people spend their money, how they get around and how they connect with each other.

“I am looking forward to taking this to Council and from there Metlink, Greater Wellington’s transport arm, will prioritise getting the necessary back-end work completed, so we can introduce the new free and half-price fares as soon as is practically possible.”

Discounted fares to be extended on Metlink services until June 2023

Ponter has also highlighted that the diversity of public transport ticketing systems across New Zealand poses a challenge, as each region will need to manage the change differently. Age verification, in particular, represents a hurdle that authorities will need to overcome. 

In addition, the recent announcement adds to the previously declared half-priced fares for community services card holders and total mobility users. The Ministry of Social Development is set to release more information on the discounts available for community card holders and total mobility users in the coming weeks. Metlink plans to support these efforts by launching an information campaign to ensure the public is well-informed.

With the introduction of the latest fare reductions, travel during off-peak periods will become more affordable for individuals aged 25 and under. Greater Wellington had already implemented 50% off-peak travel discounts, which will also be applicable to the new half-priced fares. This initiative aims to encourage young people to utilise public transport during less congested times, benefiting both passengers and the transportation system as a whole.