Friday, April 28, 2023

‘How do we make public transport as much loved as libraries?


 Auckland Transport CEO Dean Kimpton (photo: Michael Craig)

In Simon Wilson’s revealing interview (Weekend Herald, April 22), new Auckland Transport chief Dean Kimpton wonders, “How do we make public transport as much loved as libraries?” Although he correctly identifies many other key ingredients to ending traffic congestion such as “rapid, frequent, safe, clean public transport”, the obvious comparison with libraries that Kimpton overlooks, is to make public transport services free at the point of use. 

Roger Fowler,

Fare-Free NZ.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Building a movement for effective action to combat climate change


Fare-free NZ spokesperson Roger Fowler, with panel members Christine Rose, Elliot Crossan and Green MP Chloe Swarbrick.

A well-attended ‘Rise Up Against Climate Cuts’ meeting in Auckland on Thursday heard from a range of speakers including GreenPeace climate campaigner Christine Rose, Elliot Crossan from System Change Not Climate Change, Roger Fowler from Fare-Free NZ, Xavier Walsh from Unions Auckland, Takutai Moana Kemp, Te Pati Maori candidate, Joe Carolan for Unite Union, and Green MP Chloe Swarbrick.

Fare-Free NZ spokesperson Roger Fowler said the climate crisis is here now and deadly serious. ‘We need to take this seriously and put the country on a ‘war footing’ to combat climate change.’

Fowler advocated that Free Public Transport can be one effective means to ‘turn around this obsession with cars’ and dramatically cut the number of vehicles, and reduce air pollution and emissions that are a major contributor to global warming.

But it’s not just a matter of zero fares - Free Public Transport will need to have frequent top-quality 24/7 services with an increased fleet of modern zero-emission vehicles, integrated colour-coded routes, free wifi, easy access and ‘Public Transport Ambassadors’ to assist passengers and deter anti-social behaviour - and free up the drivers to focus on their job: getting everyone to where they need to go safely.

To address the shortfall of drivers, Fowler said they need to be respected - ‘treat them like rock stars and pay them like surgeons!’

Funding could start now by diverting the billions of dollars allocated to current and proposed extravagant roading projects, and the ‘National Ticketing System’ (estimated to cost $1.3 billion).  Why build more motorways and under-harbour crossings to encourage more traffic when we need to cut traffic volumes?

Other measures should include expanding electrified rail for passengers and freight, boost coastal shipping to get freight off of trucks, expand modern ferry services (also with zero-fares) and upgrade walking, cycling facilities and open public spaces.

Fowler called for building a strong people’s movement to build pressure to demand effective action to combat climate change.

‘We need to make public transport sooo attractive that few people would choose to go by car’ he said.

High quality free and frequent public transport could be that game changer - ‘to dramatically cut traffic congestion, reduce emissions, make roads safer, increase social cohesion, cut travel costs as well as combat climate change.’

Friday, August 19, 2022

Why free public transport is the climate crisis solution

By Martyn Bradbury, Daily Blog, August 19, 2022 (Abridged)

The time for Free Public Transport as a solution to the climate crisis is now.

We urgently need to shift people out of private transport and onto public transport.

This would have an enormous benefit on the poorest amongst us who pay 20% of their wage on transport while taking vast numbers of people off the roads in their cars.

We must nationalise our public transport fleet and look at vast new investment inside cities and intercity.

That includes a vast upgrade on rail.

The Truck industry have had political dominance for too long.

Rather than continue to subside the NZ Trucking Mafia, we should subsidise public transport.

The floods you are seeing, the scorching temperatures, the heat waves – ALL of this is happening at speeds and jumps in temperature far outside where Scientists were expecting.

The climate crisis is here and we aren’t ready.

New China crisis poses fresh global threat as ‘extreme’ disaster unfolds

China is facing its most extreme heatwave in 60 years – and the impact is set to be felt worldwide.

Severe heat and drought has plagued the world’s second-biggest economy for weeks on end, with temperatures soaring above 40C in a string of large cities.

As a result, the unprecedented demand for airconditioning has caused the power grid to buckle, while the drought has also reduced water levels and therefore the ability to generate electricity at hydropower plants.

It’s a nightmare scenario for the nation of 1.4 billion, and has seen some provinces resort to drastic measures.

Free public transport and vast upgrade of that infrastructure is a solution and part of the future’.


Friday, July 29, 2022

‘Government should act now’


Free Fares NZ announcement, 29 July 2022

On Thursday morning, the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Annual General Meeting passed a remit supporting our call for central Government to fund free public transport for under-25’s, tertiary students, Community Services Card Holders, and Total Mobility Card holders and their support people.

Having the largest local government association back our ask is a big moment for our kaupapa. 

One of our organisers Mika Hervel says “Free Fares is not a fringe idea. It is not absurd, or even unrealistic. Every day, more and more people are backing our calls to central Government and the support of LGNZ’s remit this morning is indication that this is no longer a partisan issue. The Government should act now.”

Kansas City’s Zero Fare Transit Program Shows Major Success – And What Still Needs to Be Done


By Sandy Smith, NextCity, 27 July 2022

Kansas City, Missouri, made national headlines in the fall of 2019 when its city council voted unanimously to become America’s first large city to make public transportation free citywide. Now, two and a half years later, anyone living anywhere in the city can ride buses without paying a fare.

How has that worked out for the riders and the city?

Survey data shows the move has largely been successful in advancing local transit equity – though it also highlights what remains to be done to allow all Kansas Citians equal access to the sprawling metropolitan area.

A study conducted as part of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City’s annual “State of Black Kansas City” report last year asked 1,686 riders for their feedback on what Zero Fare has enabled them to do. The responses show how a Zero Fare policy makes a big difference in these riders’ ability to exercise the so-called “right to the city.”

Almost 90% of the riders surveyed said they rode the buses more as a result of Zero Fare. About 92% said it allowed them to shop for food more often; 88% said they could see their healthcare providers more easily or more often; 82% said it allowed them to get or keep a job; and 86% said it made them feel like city leadership is concerned about their needs — a sore subject for mostly-Black East Side residents, who often complain that the city pays more attention to its whiter and more affluent west side.

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Monday, July 25, 2022

ODT: Free & fair: The case for free buses

Otago Daily Times, Monday, 25 July 2022