Auckland Transport is cracking down on fare dodgers on the rail network. Inspectors caught 113 people in one day and the council controlled organisation is hoping new legislation will in June allow it to begin dishing out $150 fines to dodgers.
Why are people not paying their fares? Is it because they want to deprive the council of funds for new trains? No, of course not. Many people genuinely cannot afford to pay as public transport fares soar year in and year out.
Rather than address the rising cost of living and workers and students genuine inability to pay for the cost of moving around the city the council is instead making it even harder for us to live.
Fuck that. We support free public transport in New Zealand. Not just to ease the pressure on working people and students already struggling with rising food, gas, rent, electricity prices and unemployment but to give people an alternative to using their cars. Less cars = less greenhouse gas emissions and less air pollution in Auckland. And less money going to Veolia Transport, a company complicit in the construction of train systems for Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.
According to the Transport Blog it would cost around $150 million a year to fund free public transport in Auckland. Just over double the amount the National Party gave to Warner Brothers' in tax breaks for The Hobbit. And Auckland socialist Roger Fowler runs the excellent FareFree New Zealand blog with links to articles about cities all around the world with free public transport. It's an idea whose time has come.
In a city that keeps growing and with traffic congestion, climate change and a growing cost of living problem now's the time for the city council to give us free public transport. But if they won't then the people should take it themselves. Can't pay, won't pay! Socialist Aotearoa 100% supports all fare dodgers. Buses and trains should be free!