WELLINGTON, May 25 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's Wellbeing Budget will include new funding that could make it cheaper for low income households to use public transport.
Budget 2019 will provide funding to investigate a scheme to reduce the costs of public transport for Community Services Card holders which are around 900,000 including people who receive a benefit, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said in a statement on Saturday.
"This scheme would make public transport easier to use and reduce costs for low income families," Genter said.
"For too many people, transport costs are a real barrier to everyday activities like going to the doctor, taking the kids to school, or visiting friends and family," she said, adding making trains and buses more affordable for those who need it will help ensure all New Zealanders have the opportunity to be earning, learning, caring or volunteering, Genter said.
Between 2013 and 2017, the average weekly expenditure on public transport services among people in the lowest income group increased by 63 percent, and increasing transport costs hit households on low incomes the hardest, Genter said.
Budget funding of 4.6 million NZ dollars (3 million U.S. dollars) in 2019-2020 would be used to cover the cost of operational systems needed to implement the scheme, depending on the outcome of initial investigations, Genter added.