Farebox Policy Slammed


The Greens today slamed the government’s farebox recovery policy as a short-sighted funding policy for public transport that will mean more expensive bus and rail fares throughout the country.

Transport spokesman Gareth Hughes says the government  continues to repeat the mistakes of the past 50 years, which have led to congestion, a high road toll, and households paying heaps to get around in often old and dirty cars.

“We need smarter transport solutions, that will support a clean, green and prosperous economy,” said Mr Hughes.

The policy sets a goal for 50 percent of the cost of rail and bus services to be recouped from passengers around the country within 3 years of regional councils developing their Regional Public Transport Plan or by 2015.

Commuters will have to pay more to fill the funding gap

Mr Hughes considers an arbitrary target would not be the best way to improve the effectiveness of public transport services.

“The goal of the farebox recovery policy, which the Minister of Transport pushed NZTA to develop, is simply to get more money out of bus and rail passengers.This is a damaging short-sighted approach that fails to recognize the wider economic, health and environmental benefits that buses and trains bring to our communities – like less congestion on our roads, cleaner air, and lower greenhouse emissions.”

He said that central Government introducing a target for regional councils means they will have to raise fares. Higher fares would mean fewer people use public transport.

This created a vicious downward spiral where regional councils have to cut services with low patronage.

“Right now our public transport services are suffering from decades of under-investment and privatisation, which led to many services being cut. The average age of a train on the Auckland network is 45 years. Is it any wonder then that many people do not have the option to take reliable, modern trains and buses?

“There are only a few, exceptional cities around the world with farebox recovery ratios set at 50 percent or above. The average ratio for US cities with basic transit systems is 21 percent. In US cities with modern, high quality buses and trains, the ratio is 39 percent.

“To ask that our current buses and trains get 50 percent of costs back from users is unrealistic, particularly after decades of government policies that have reduced the effectiveness of public transport networks,” said Mr Hughes.

Government Farebox Policy details here




  1. Matt says:

    Nothing short-sighted about it. Joyce hates public transport, and this is a sure-fire way of ensuring that patronage decreases which, in turn, reduces the demand on central government to provide funding for increasing/improving services. “Why put money into something that nobody uses?”

    Look at this over a five-year period, assuming National don’t manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory next year, and one sees a coordinated plan to run down public transport in order to justify reducing central government funding so it can all be diverted into roading. Through that lens, it makes horrible sense.

  2. Brent C says:

    Fare recovery in the U.S is low because they offer cheap transport. My mother and father were able to get a transport pass for L.A for only $5 a day, to go anywhere.

    I believe to achieve a 50% recovery for the country, the government need to continue to invest in public transit and encourage smarter use of the automobile. It has to work well in order to make a profit!

  3. Jeremy Harris says:

    The lack of democracy in this really irks me, I know almost no oe submitted in favour of this and it still went through…

  4. DanC says:

    Appalling. Shouldn’t it be the other way around for so many reasons. The first being pollution?


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