June 29, 2010
Members of Hutt City’s grassroots council ticket, VAN – Valley Action Network, will be attending the Greater Wellington Regional Council meeting today, supporting a group of commuters, dubbed the “fair rise rebels” by the Dominion Post, protesting against train fare hikes on the Wairarapa Line.
“We’re going because commuters everywhere are facing a common problem”, says VAN spokesperson Michelle Ducat. “It’s the Wairarapa Line today, the Hutt Valley Line tomorrow.
“Last year, the government’s transport agency released a ‘farebox recovery’ plan to make passengers around the country pay a bigger share of the cost of public transport.
“Transport minister Steven Joyce pushed for the plan, to divert even more public money into building costly motorways. He has publicly singled out Hutt Valley rail commuters as another group who will have to pay extra.
“The Greater Wellington Regional Council made a submission opposing the plan and won important concessions, including the right for councils to set their own targets for how much of the cost should be borne by passengers.
“But under the new rules, says GWRC Design and Development Manager Brian Baxter, councils will still come under ’strong influence’ to make passengers pay up.
“The government already spends seven times as much on roads as it does on all other kinds of transport put together”, commented Michelle. “People know that this fuels ever-growing car use and traffic jams, more reliance on dwindling cheap oil and more climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Come July 1, it’s also forcing consumers to bear the cost of an Emissions Trading Scheme that’s been watered down and won’t stop climate change anyway.
“To fix the problems in a way that doesn’t shift the burden onto grassroots people, the country needs to move in the opposite direction, towards ideas like Free Public Transport.
“At the very least, local councils need to unite against this latest government farebox plan.
“Forty submissions were received on the farebox plan. Individuals, regional and city councils from around New Zealand spoke up against the government’s push to raise fares.
“Hutt City Council said nothing. This is just not good enough”, she said.
“Hutt residents deserve, and need a council that stands up for us, and for our environment.
“This is why VAN – Valley Action Network is standing for election to Hutt City Council in October.
“We’ll be pushing for Free Public Transport. It makes climate sense and serves the people!”
Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz