Free Fares Campaign
We are the Aotearoa Collective for Public Transport Equity. Join our call for free public transport for Community Service Card holders, tertiary students and under-25s, and Total Mobility Card holders and their support people!
Our campaign Free Fares grew out of the very real struggle we, and our communities are currently facing. With the high cost of public transport, many people can only afford to travel by private car, causing congestion and harmful carbon emissions. Some people don’t travel at all, and their wellbeing and communities suffer as a result.
The solution is free public transport for the groups most affected by transport poverty.
The case has never been stronger. New Zealand needs to take bold actions to reduce emissions and improve equity; we also need to address rising living costs and pandemic pressures that are pushing people into poverty. Free fares is a solution. Now is the moment!
Read our final submission (PDF, 6mb)
What we want
We are asking for free public transport across all of Aotearoa, at all hours and days, for the following groups:
Community Services Card holders
Total Mobility Card holders & their support people
We 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 not to afford it.
Why we need it
Our climate needs free fares
21% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transport – 70% of these from cars, SUVs, utes, vans and light trucks. Transport is our fastest growing source of carbon emissions, having doubled since 1990. Free fares will help people to switch to public transport, which produces far less emissions per kilometre than private vehicles. Free fares, with urgent and widespread implementation, is one equitable and courageous action on the scale our climate needs.
People need free fares
The high cost of public transport leaves too many of us disconnected from family, friends and activities that bring us joy. With housing costs and other expenses rising, many Community Service Card holders, Total Mobility Card holders, and tertiary students find that regular public transport fares are out of reach. The current 50% public transport discount is not enough to create the equitable public transport system we need for a low-emissions future.
We know from the SuperGold Card (which provides free off-peak, urban travel for senior citizens) that free travel improves wellbeing. More people need free fares.
Families need free fares
Parents will continue to bundle kids into the car as long as cost barriers to public transport remain. Free fares for under-25s will help remove these cost barriers and normalise public transport habits in the next generation. Young people are motivated to care for the environment, and free public transport gives them a low-emission transport option.
Our communities need free fares
We all miss out when the cost of fares prevents people travelling. Businesses miss out on customers, community groups lose participants and volunteers and tourist spots miss out on visitors. Free fares will allow more people to make these trips, connecting communities so we are all better off.
Now is the moment for free fares
While the government is committing to take action to reduce emissions and improve equity, now is the time to take this step. We cannot wait for an Auckland trial (Community Connect, giving half-price fares for Community Service Card holders) to run for three years then perhaps be extended nationwide, as the government proposes in the Emissions Reduction Plan discussion document. People and the climate need free fares now.
How else can you help?
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Join the Collective
Join the coalition of 70+ organisations, unions, local councils, and churches which are supporting our campaign.
Join the team
Join the campaign organising team to get the word out and campaign for change.