Thursday, February 20, 2014

Proposal for free public transport trial in Mangere-Otahuhu presented to Local Board

Submission to the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board for consideration in the local board plan for 2014-2017.

That the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board initiates a one year trial for free public transport for all routes in the Mangere-Otahuhu area, to determine if such a move would be successful in getting a substantial number of people out of cars and on to public transport in sufficient volumes to dramatically reduce traffic congestion, and advance towards creating a truly ‘livable city’.


Last year I attended the first international conference on free public transport hosted by Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. Tallinn adopted free public transport for all residents in January 2013.

Other cities, notably Hasselt, a provincial capital in Belgium, and Chengdu in China, and dozens of smaller cities around the world, offer free public transport to combat traffic congestion and resulting pollution and related serious health issues.

In 2005 the then Mayor of Manukau City, Sir Barry Curtis, proposed that the ARC trial free buses throughout 3 south Auckand suburbs. However his proposal was eclipsed by other events and never progressed.

The concept has attracted a degree of popular support during local body elections in recent years, and was a key platform of the recent ‘Minto for Mayor’ campaign. I stood for the ARC in 2007 on the RAM ticket advocating free public transport and received strong support with nearly 11,000 local votes. One RAM candidate from Manukau was elected to the ARC. A petition for free buses in Auckland gathered 4,000 signatures in 2007.

This proposed trial project should be accompanied with much improved bus routes and infrastructure, plus upgraded park and ride facilities, and safer cycling and walking opportunities.

A trial project confined to a low-income suburb that experiences mobility issues, such as Mangere-Otahuhu, would be a practical way is testing the merit of free public transport. If successful, the Auckland Council could be encouraged to roll out a city-wide trial.

Roger Fowler
5 Tennessee Ave,
Mangere East.
Related website:

18 February 2014.

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