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Public Transport Subsidies Are Ending. Here's What's Next

The government's public transport subsidies are coming to an end - but how much fares will rise depends on where you are in the country.

The Community Connect fare subsidy meant children aged 5 to 12 travelled free and those aged 13-24 got half-price fares.

It was introduced in mid-2023, off the back of a previous subsidy put in place to counteract soaring petrol prices due to the war in Ukraine.

Tuesday is the final day that the subsidy is in place and fares will rise in many places from Wednesday.

However, some councils will continue to fund cheaper fares for select groups.

Here is a look at how much more people will pay for the bus or train in the main centres once the subsidy ends.




From 1 May, young people aged 13-15, and secondary students aged 16-19, will all see their fares double on buses and trains.

Weekday zone 1 travel will rise from 70 cents to $1.35, zone 2 travel will rise from $1.30 to $2.60, and zone 3 travel will rise from $1.75 to $3.55. Zone 9 travel, at the top end of the scale, will go from $3.35 to $6.60

Children aged 5-12 will no longer travel for free and must also pay those same fares.

Young people aged 16 to 24 who are not eligible for another concession must pay adult fares. That includes under-18s who are no longer attending high school.

Their fares will rise from $1.25 to $2.60 for zone 1, $2.20 to $4.45 for zone 2, $3 to $6 for zone 3, and $3.70 to $7.40 for zone 4.

Ferry fares will also rise. Children aged 13-15 and secondary students aged 16-19 will now pay $3.55, up from $1.75, for travel in the inner harbour (between the Viaduct and Bayswater, Birkenhead, Northcote Point, and Devonport). Children 5-12 must pay the same fares.

For those aged 16-24 who are not in school, the fare will increase from $3 to $6.

For travel in the mid harbour (between the city and Half Moon Bay, West Harbour, Hobsonville or Beach Haven), fares will rise from $2.42 to $5.10 for those aged 13-19 and in secondary school. Children aged 5-12 must also pay $5.10.

Youth aged 16-24 who are not in school will see their fare rise from $4.12 to $8.50.

Those with Community Services cards can get 50 percent off adult fares, while Total Mobility or Blind Low Vision NZ card-holders can get up to 40 percent off adult fares on buses, trains and ferries.

Tertiary students receive about 20 percent off adult fares.

Children aged 5-13 will continue to travel for free on buses and trains during the weekends if they tag on and off with an AT HOP card.

Children under 5 do not need an AT HOP card and can continue to travel for free at all times.

Here is the full breakdown of the changes Auckland public transport fares.


The Waikato Regional Council says it has decided to continue the current public transport fare structure and extend the concessions until 30 June.

However, from 1 July, public transport fares in Waikato will increase by 20 percent on BUSIT and Te Huia.

From the same day, fares will revert back to the previous structure in the region of one standard Bee Card fare and one cash fare regardless of passenger age.

The full breakdown of fare changes can be found here.


Fares for those aged 5-24 will rise from 1 May throughout Wellington.

However, Metlink bus and train fares vary depending on the time of day, and those travelling off-peak can receive a hefty discount.

During peak times (weekdays from 7am-9am and 3pm-6.30pm), those aged 19-24 with a Snapper card will be charged $1.84 for travel in zone 1 (up from 92 cents), $3.02 for travel in zone 2 (up from $1.51) and $4.03 (up from $2.01) for travel in zone 3.

At the most expensive end at the scale, 19-24-year-olds travelling at peak times in zone 14 will pay $15.95, up from $7.97.

However, if the traveller is studying at a tertiary institution, the fares are $1.38, $2.27 and $3.02 for zones 1, 2, and 3, and $11.96 for zone 14.

Those aged 13-16 - or older if still in high school - will also see their fares double. They now have to pay 92 cents for zone 1 travel (up from 46 cents), $1.51 for zone 2 travel (up from 76 cents) and $2.01 for zone 3 travel (up from $1).

Those aged over 16 and not attending high school must pay full adult fares.

Meanwhile, free travel for those aged 5-12 is ending and travellers will now have to pay the same fares as those aged 13-16.

At off-peak times, all fares are half-price for those using Snapper. This remains unchanged, as does the ability for children aged under 5 to travel for free.

Here is the full breakdown of the changes to Wellington public transport fares.


Those aged 5-12 will no longer be eligible for free travel across Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri. From 1 May, they must pay $1 per trip on Metro buses and $2 per trip on the Metro Diamond Harbour ferry.

However, youth aged 13-24 years will not see their fares increase. They will continue to pay $1 for bus trips and $2 for ferry trips.

To qualify for the concession, they must pay with a registered Metrocard.

The full adult fare, for those 25 and over, is $2 for the bus and $4 for the ferry using a Metrocard.

Children under 5 will continue to travel free.

Here is the full breakdown of the changes to Christchurch public transport fares.


Children aged 5-12 will continue to travel free on buses in Dunedin and Queenstown from 1 May after the Otago Regional Council voted to continue funding the fares.

The half-price concession also remains for those with a Community Services card or on total mobility services. They will continue to pay $1 per one-way trip.

Those aged 13-18 will pay $1.20 for a one-way trip in Dunedin and $1.50 for a one-way trip in Queenstown, up from 60 cents and 75 cents respectively.

For those aged 19-24, the fare rises to $2 per one-way trip in both cities, up from $1.

Travellers must have a correctly registered Bee Card to benefit from the above fares. One-way cash fares for those aged 13-plus are steeper: $3 in Dunedin and $4 in Queenstown.

As in all the main centres, children under 5 will continue to travel free.

Here is the full breakdown of the changes to Otago public transport fares.

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