Transit fare changes for 2017

Yesterday Auckland Transport announced that at the end of the month they are changing some public transport fares after just reducing them less than six months ago when the rolled out their Simplified Fares scheme. Bus, train and ferry fares will be changing from 29 January 2017. Auckland Transport is required to review fares annually to ensure they keep pace with operating costs and a portion of cost recovery from fares. Colin Homan, Group Manager, AT Development says Auckland Transport has a target to recover 50 percent of the cost of public transport from fares, but this is currently at 46.3 percent. “Compared to many other cities, Auckland short distance …
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Auckland PT fares to get a whole lot better

Auckland PT fares to get a whole lot betterThe next revolution of public transport in Auckland now has a date, August 14. That’s the day that the city will finally shed its clumsy and expensive fare system with Auckland Transport finally implementing what they call Simplified Fares, also known as integrated fares, which will be smarter and in many cases cheaper. Currently Auckland has a stage based system where you pay for every bus, train you use based on how many stages you pass, with only a small transfer discount for those that use multiple services. With Simplified Fares it will shift to paying one fare for your total trip based on how many zones you travel within and that includes using up to …
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Annual PT Fare Changes for 2016

Annual PT Fare Changes for 2016Auckland Transport are making a few changes to public transport fares on 28 February and some of them are bound to result in howls of outrage. The changes are part of ATs annual fare review and they have said they are being influenced by a couple of key factors: The need to achieve the NZTAs farebox recovery policy of 50% of costs covered by fares by June 2018 Changes to operating costs Changes in preparation for ATs Simplified Fares which they say are currently on track to roll out at the end of July I’ll cover off these aspects before going into the fare changes. Achieving the Farebox Recovery Policy As …
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Time for fares to come down?

Public transport fares are often a contentious issue. Too high and they can put people off, too low and it may increase the subsides needed or you may need to cut services. So it’s interesting to think about fares in the current climate we have in Auckland. We know from the last AT board meeting that the annual fare review was up for a decision/approval in the closed session. Given this is the time of the year they usually announce the outcome of that fare review I expect we’ll be hearing soon what they’re going to do. Over the last few years we’ve seen fares for most people (HOP users) stabilise quite …
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How important is public transport for reducing congestion?

In July, I started taking a look at the economics of public transport fare policies. In the first part of the series, I took a look at how traffic congestion can be a rationale for public transport fare subsidies. (Parts 2 and 3 dealt with different issues.) I observed that: In the absence of congestion pricing (and in the presence of other subsidies for driving, such as minimum parking requirements), higher public transport fares can result in a perverse outcome – additional congestion and delays for existing road drivers. This is shown in the following diagram: Effectively, a failure to price roads efficiently means that we have to provide subsidies …
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How our fares will compare with other cities

A few weeks ago the Auckland Transport board adopted an updated version of the Regional Public Transport Plan following consultation on a few areas. One of those areas AT’s Integrated Fares Policy or Simplified Fares as AT call them and which I looked at in more detail here. Core to the Simplified Fares are a move to a zone based system where you pay for how many zones you pass through not how many services you use. The consultation also gave some indicative prices and future products that we can expect and many cases (not all) the changes will actually work out cheaper for people. In addition they will move to a …
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Updated RPTP consultation outcome

Back in May Auckland Transport launched a short consultation to update their Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) on four specific areas to reflect the work and thinking they’ve undertaken since the RPTP was released in 2013. The consultation was limited to four areas: The proposed introduction of simplified zone fares Proposals for a new light rail transit (LRT) network on some major arterial routes Service and infrastructure changes arising from the Ferry Development Plan which was approved by the AT Board in December 2014 Revised service descriptions arising from community consultation on the new bus network AT haven’t formally announced the outcomes of that consultation however a paper on them …
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The economics of fare policies, part 3

For those that don’t read Transportblog on a daily basis, this is the third part of a series I’m writing on the economics of public transport fare policies. Part 1 discussed a key rationale for public transport subsidies – lower fares keep people from clogging up already-congested roads. Part 2 considered the case for distance- or zone-based fares to ensure that people taking longer (and hence more expensive) trips pay more. In the comments on those posts, several sharp readers asked about the relationship between fare levels and ridership, and whether there are any opportunities to improve outcomes by targeting lower fares to highly price-sensitive groups. These are excellent questions …
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The economics of fare policies, part 2

The announcement of Auckland Transport’s new fare policy made me curious about the economics of fare policies, so I’m taking a quick look at them. In part 1 of this series, I argued that 100% cost-recovery isn’t a realistic goal for public transport. While charging public transport users for the full costs of their journey may seem appealing, it will result in the perverse outcome of increased congestion on the roads. In the absence of congestion pricing, subsidising public transport can be a useful “second best policy” to improve the efficiency of roads. In other words, if you like driving, you should also like public transport subsidies, as they make …
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The economics of fare policies, part 1

A few months back, Auckland Transport put out its new fare policy for consultation. The draft policy, which they call Simplified Fares, has two main elements: Standardised fare zones that ensure that journeys within or between zones cost the same regardless of whether you’re travelling by bus or rail [ferries are excluded] No transfer penalties between services, which is a key element in enabling a frequent connective network. Those are indeed simple principles, but developing and implementing a fare policy is seldom simple. So the whole thing got me thinking: Why do public transport fares work the way they do? And could we do things differently? As I’m curious, I …
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