Roger Watkin, candidate in the Porirua-Tawa Regional Council race says the current Super Gold Card hours need to be extended.
“In discussions with many residents, and particularly those who are retired, a common grievance relates to the hours of use for the Super Gold Card on public transport.
“At present the hours of Super Gold Card use are from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday then after 6.30pm and on weekends.”
Mr Watkin says as a regional councillor he will advocate to have the hours between 3pm and 6.30 included in the discount period.
“This has long been the case in Auckland and I believe it should apply to Greater Wellington as well. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is currently considering including the hours between 3pm and 6.30pm as well for Tauranga and Rotorua.
“There are many benefits to the broader community in having extended hours including the associated benefits of having a more active and mobile retired population. Anecdotally there are many instances of retired people missing health appointments because of the cost of public transport when appointments fall outside the current Gold Card hours,” says Mr Watkin.
He says extending the hours also has the added benefit of taking more cars off the road and encourages greater use of public transport.
“The argument that Gold Card users will pack out peak time transport really doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Very few Gold Card users want to be part of the peak crush but for a few there will be times when that will be the only timing option.”
Mr Watkin says it is also worth noting that many Gold Card holders may not be aware that the contract between the Regional Council and the funding agency states a cardholder who boards the service 10 minutes before or after an off peak period is to be treated as having boarded during an off peak period.
“I have confirmed that the card is still operable in the event of your train or bus being within 10 minutes of the 3pm cut off time.”