Cry of gouging as fares go up

The Herald reports

Auckland public transport rides will cost at least 10c more from the end of next week, and fares on Fullers’ unsubsidised Waiheke Island ferry service will be boosted by an average of 4.7 per cent.

Auckland Regional Council chairman and part-time Waiheke resident Mike Lee is accusing Fullers of “price gouging” and says he will write to its British-based owner to complain.

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority announced late yesterday that fares on buses and trains would rise “typically” by 2 per cent to 3 per cent on Sunday, October 3, in response to the GST rise on October 1 from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent.

Passengers face rises of 10c for short to medium trips and of 20c on longer trips, meaning an increase of 5.8 per cent on central Auckland’s Link bus service, although inner-city rides will remain unchanged at 50c – as will one-stage child fares.

The transport authority says typical subsidised ferry fares will rise by 2 per cent to 4 per cent on October 3, although 50c more for a return trip between Devonport and Auckland represents a 5 per cent increase.

Fares on Fullers’ unsubsidised Waiheke Island ferry service will rise by an average of 4.7 per cent on that day after an extra pricing review, and will increase by as much as 11.1 per cent for a 10-trip ticket issued to tertiary students.

Adult monthly passes will rise by 4.7 per cent from $315 to $330.

Fullers officials could not be reached for comment, but its website says its new fares are aimed at passing on other cost increases such as an 18 per cent rise in fuel charges in the past 18 months, higher labour and maintenance bills and the Government’s emissions trading scheme.

It’s also worth noting that Fullers have benefited by about $2m from SuperGold subsidies, without actually having to put on any increased services or staff.

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