NORTHCOTE: What are the benefits to the public of Public Transport?

Anne-Elise Smithon, Greens

The main thing to remember about public transport is that it makes people happier. There are multiple studies about this.

It’s also important to note that investing in decent public transport is not about being anti-car, it’s just about providing more choice.

We can absolutely create more liveable and people-friendly cities and towns as well as help provincial areas with greater economic development, by investing in buses, trains and cycling infrastructure.

The creation of a congestion-free network will de-clog roads, speed-up journeys and importantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

If we implement this network, including the City Rail Link (CRL), then we won’t need to worry about implementing road tolls for quite some time. So we spend less and deliver more.

Currently, the government’s transport budget is skewed towards expensive low value motorways, at the neglect of the regions and the smarter greener transport projects New Zealanders want.

On top of this, a report from May this year showed a surge in Auckland rail patronage.

The writing’s on the wall! New Zealand can have a sustainable transport system that supports liveable, people-friendly towns and cities, and enables the movement of people and goods locally, regionally and nationally at least social, environmental and financial cost.

Damian Light, United Future

Public transport is exactly that – it’s for the public. It’s the backbone of our transport system (despite some people’s best efforts) and Auckland would be crippled without it. We definitely need to do more, but we should also not take for granted what we have.

Well planned and properly funded public transport has massive benefits for the users (myself included) – faster travel, reduced costs (parking alone is normally more expensive than public transport) and less hassle. I love that I have a driver who picks me up near my house and drives me near my work for a nominal fee. Could I drive myself? Sure, but then I wouldn’t be able to relax on the way to work or on the way home. It also removes any issues with selecting the sober driver – he’s the one driving the bus. Northcote is lucky to be served by Birkenhead Transport – their drivers are some of the most customer focused I’ve ever seen.  Together with the Onewa Road bus lane, getting to work in the morning is a pretty relaxed experience (which is good as I’m not a morning person).

Not everyone can use public transport for every situation – while I have seen parents taking their children to day care on the bus while on the way to work, it’s not always practical. There are also people who need their own vehicles for their job making public transport not practical for them either. However, public transport does still benefit them by reducing congestion on the road. This is partly why public transport needs to funded by more than just user pays – it benefits more than just the users.

There are also the other benefits to society such as reduced pollution, less spending required on roads (less traffic means less wear) and more space for public areas in towns and cities (instead of parking buildings).

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