Age Concern New Zealand

Serving the needs of older people
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Free public transport

Many SuperGold Card holders are eligible for free off-peak public transport. 

How to get free travel

Just show your SuperGold Card to the bus driver, or the cable car, train or ferry conductor.

  • No other ID will be accepted if you don't have your card.
  • Each individual travelling free will need their own SuperGold card.
  • The driver etc. may ask you how far you're travelling; this is to help local councils monitor the use of their services.

Off-peak hours

Most local authorities define off-peak as 9am to 3pm, exclude the late-afternoon rush, and then offer off-peak from 6pm to close-down.

Weekends and public holidays are all off-peak. 

Local variations

The New Zealand Transport Agency works with regional councils providing public transport to provide this service. Because the discounts are negotiated locally, there will be local variations.

  • ARTA (Auckland Regional Transport Authority) discounts are available from 9am to the end of the day.
  • Some public transport that isn't part of local authorities' public transport contracts may not be included.
  • For detailed information on local services and free public transport, contact your local council or ARTA.

Update

Review: The first-year review of the scheme is currently being done by the New Zealand Transport Agency. Expenditure for 2008 - 2009 was on target at $18million.

Six-month Update: Free transport a success for seniors

10 March 2009

SuperGold Card holders have made over two and a half million bus, rail and ferry journeys since the free off-peak public transport scheme began last October.

We say the scheme has been a great success – in areas where it's available – and reject any suggestion that the scheme is being used to fund jaunts.

"Building community involvement has real health and welfare benefits," Age Concern's Alistair Stewart says.

"Free off-peak transport is win/win. It's good for older people; it's good for public transport as it uses spare off-peak capacity, and it's good for the environment as it replaces car journeys.

"People aged over 65 are using free public transport to get to work (paid or voluntary), visit friends, do their shopping and generally keep engaged with their communities.

"The average fare subsidy is just $2.19 – that's a great investment. $18 million per year is available so $5.5 million for the first four months of the scheme is within budget."

We welcome Prime Minister John Key's support for the scheme and his commitment to "fund the increase" if it becomes more popular than budgeted for.

But not all older people are benefiting. For example, Auckland transport operators received over $2.8 million and senior Aucklanders can travel for free any time in the day after 9am. On the other hand, Gisborne and Marlborough got just $4000 each and the West Coast got nothing.

"Some areas with significant senior populations don't have off-peak public transport. Families, communities and community organisations like Age Concern are having to fill in gaps in services if we're going to help older people make the most out of life," Alistair Stewart says.

In the news: Have your say | Media Watch | Other reference in our Picture of the Week

Resources

> VISIT the website of the New Zealand Transport Agency

> GO TO more information on our site on SuperGold Card

> DOWNLOAD the NZTA's Draft NZ Minimum Standard for Urban Buses for more information on bus accessibility and quality. [PDF file, 344KB]