From 1 April, the government has offered half-price public transport to commuters in New Zealand. The drums have beaten loudly for Waihekians to also receive the discount from ferry companies that service the Island.
In the past week, Minister of Transport Michael Wood stated that he would be prepared to alter current legislation to take Fuller’s services under Auckland Transport’s wing.
Through the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM), AT is responsible for regulating transport operators under a directive from central government. However, Fullers has special exemption to operate as a commercial operation outside the regulated model. Ratepayers subsidise most public Transport in Auckland, the ferry routes to Devonport and Waiheke are the exceptions, although Auckland Council does subsidise the Devonport route in a de-facto PTOM arrangement. Umbrella subsidies will be applied once a service is included under a PTOM.
Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick has become involved in the discussion to include Waiheke in the fare reduction. She is championing the island’s case to the transport minister with the help of Waiheke Local Board Chair Cath Handley for whom the issue has been a hot button. • Jim Birchall
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