On Thursday the 17th of March 2022, the Aotearoa Collective for Public Transport Equity will hand over a petition to Minister Woods at Parliament with over 12,000 signatures calling for free fares for under-25s, tertiary students and Community Services Card holders.
With over 60 organisations backing them, and support from a variety of city and regional councils, the Free Fares campaign is hoping to see a positive outcome as a result of this petition handover.
Such a large outpouring of support clearly indicates that change is needed for our public transport system. We urgently need to shift to cheaper, higher quality public transport in order to meet our carbon reduction goals. Part of this includes providing free fares for our most vulnerable, so that the impacts of climate change and rising costs are minimised on an already struggling part of society.
“Good public transportation is both a key determinant in social mobility and a crucial element in our fight against climate change. By funding free fares, we can remove barriers to public transport access and deal with both these issues in one fell swoop,” says one Dunedin tertiary student.
As a result of the calls for free fares, change is now taking place across Aotearoa. One regional council, Environment Canterbury, recently proposed a two year trial of free fares for these particular target groups. The Collective calls for the Government to follow suit, and make the investment now. Free fares is a tried and tested way of reducing emissions and combating climate change.
As the recent IPCC report showed, the time for action is now. The Secretary General of the UN described the findings of the report as “…an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.” If this Labour Government is serious about reducing poverty and beating climate change, we need to see meaningful policies like free fares.
“I support free fares because students are already under enough financial stress with leaving home, paying rent, food, moving around the country, student loans and becoming an ‘adult’ for the first time. Having free public transport would remove the stress of renting close to the city, and would allow students to commute to and from classes, uni and school without having to worry about running out of money on their bus card.” – Nina Harding, Auckland tertiary student
“We need to think of everything we can do to remove and reduce emissions for the sake of our climate. Free fares is a no brainer! Students would be able to live on the outskirts of Wellington and not be faced with huge transport costs. We have a housing shortage here in Wellington and many students struggle to find a place to live close to universities.” – Marion Lienert, Wellington CSC holder
The job is not yet over, though. The Aotearoa Collective for Public Transport Equity will continue pushing central Government to make this commitment and provide free fares nationwide for under-25s, tertiary students and Community Services Card holders.
The Collective is calling on all people who support a cleaner environment and better support for our most vulnerable to rally behind us. Contact your local MP and tell them why Free Fares would make a difference for you, or the people in your community.
Together, we can make change.
Manaaki whenua. Manaaki tangata. Haere whakamua.
Care for the land. Care for the people. Go forward.
Original Source: https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2022/03/24/free-fares-petition-is-handed-over-at-parliament-free-fares-nz/