Metlink unveils fare changes impacting passengers under 24

Posted: 2 April 2024 | | No comments yet

Metlink’s upcoming fare adjustments, effective 1 May 2024, will see passengers aged 24 and under facing altered pricing structures, prompting concerns over affordability and accessibility in the Wellington region.

Metlink unveils fare changes impacting passengers under 24

Metlink has announced forthcoming fare adjustments for passengers aged 24 and under, following the Government of New Zealand’s decision to retract funding for age-based concessions. Effective 1 May 2024, these changes mark a significant shift in fare structures, particularly impacting youth commuters.

Under the new directives, children aged five to 16, or those still attending secondary school, will be required to pay half the adult fare for Metlink services. Conversely, fares for individuals aged 17 to 24 will revert to full price, unless they qualify for alternative concessions such as tertiary or Community Connect schemes. Notably, the policy ensures that children under five continue to travel at no cost on all services.

Thomas Nash, Chair of the Greater Wellington Transport Committee, expressed concern over the impending changes, acknowledging the strain it could place on young people and families already grappling with the region’s high cost-of-living.

“I don’t want to end these concessions – we know they have made a big difference to people. We want to maintain existing services and reliability, but we just can’t afford to cover the cost of the concessions ourselves if we want to grow the network, especially with uncertainty around public transport funding from the new government. At more than $10 million per year, it would require an additional rate increase beyond the 19.8% we’re currently proposing for the regional council,” said Nash.

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While acknowledging the impact on youth commuters, Nash encouraged individuals under 25 to explore other available concessions to alleviate the burden of travel expenses. In addition, he emphasised the significance of off-peak fares and reiterated the council’s dedication to advocating for enhanced funding for public transport.

Metlink confirmed that fare adjustments would automatically apply to Snapper cards, urging passengers – particularly parents and guardians with children under 13 – to ensure their card balances are topped up before the implementation date.

As the Wellington region braces for these changes, discussions surrounding public transport accessibility, affordability and funding continue to take centre stage, with stakeholders emphasising the importance of striking a balance between fiscal responsibility and social equity in transportation policies.

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