The Aotearoa Collective for Public Transport Equity submitted our petition to keep half prices fares for all to the petitions committee on Thursday 11th May.
OraTaiao Executive Board member and Occupational Therapist Romelli Rodriguez-Jolly spoke in support - "Half price fares are a public health intervention".
See the petition here: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/keep-half-price-fares-for-everyone-for-good
Tena koutou katoa.
My name is Romelli Rodriguez Jolly, I am a registered Occupational Therapist presenting on behalf of OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council. We represent health professionals calling for climate change action that achieves equitable health outcomes. Climate change is a health issue and public transport policy is an important focus for climate action which is why I find myself speaking here today.
Simply put, half price fares are a public health intervention.
Strategies like half price fares facilitate increase in public transport use leading to significant co-health benefits. Half price fares increase opportunities for active transport with physical health gains, they reduce financial barriers to accessing health care services, they improve mental health through reducing stress and increasing people’s ability to navigate and participate in their communities and access the necessities and pleasures of life. Facilitating modal shift away from car dependency to public transport leads to decreased carbon emissions, cleaner air for respiratory health, reduced road injuries and safer streets for people of all ages and abilities.
NZ researchers* find that the estimated benefit to cost ratio for active travel intervention is 11:1- $11 return in net benefits for our healthcare system. The benefits far exceed the cost.
Half price fares mean my daily bus commute costs less than taking my car. That’s an important factor people take into account when deciding their mode of transport. Half price fares has moved public transport within budget for many of the clients I work with in mental health services, making a huge difference to quality of life.
To conclude, OraTaiao consider the half price fares a public health intervention necessary for community and planetary health and wellbeing, for now and the future. We as health professionals call for half price fares to continue for everybody as a step towards free fares for all.
*Chapman R, Keall M, Howden-Chapman P, Grams M, Witten K, Randal E, Woodward A. A Cost Benefit Analysis of an Active Travel Intervention with Health and Carbon Emission Reduction Benefits. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 May 11;15(5):962. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050962. PMID: 29751618; PMCID: PMC5982001.