THE QUEENSLAND Government last week said that fares will be slashed from next year for all zones of travel making it more affordable for commuters, in a major overhaul of public transport costs across South East Queensland.
Under the State Government's Fairer Fares package, more than 93 percent of South East Queensland (SEQ) public transport users will save money with cheaper fares and a reduced number of travel zones.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her Government's Fairer Fares package, released in response to recommendations from the independent Fare Review Taskforce, ensures the maximum number of commuters in SEQ will benefit from a reduction in fares.
"Our Fairer Fares package delivers real cost of living relief to public transport users," the Premier said.
"Using public transport all over South East Queensland will be cheaper and commuters will pay lower fares to travel both short and long distances.
"Under the package, the cost of a single zone of travel in peak time will drop to $3.20, and each of the new larger zones cost will also be slashed.
"As promised, we established the independent taskforce to lead a comprehensive review of the fare structure in South East Queensland including zones and discounts and our response represents our determination to ensure the maximum number of people save," Ms Palaszczuk said.
Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe said the Fairer Fares Package endorsed the majority of recommendations made by the expert taskforce.
"This is the largest investment in public transport services in a decade since the rollout of the go card and integrated ticketing," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"It builds on the recommendations from the taskforce to deliver fare reductions right across South East Queensland."
Mr Hinchliffe said simplifying fare zones will benefit public users all across SEQ including Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine coasts, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands and Moreton Bay.
"Fewer zones means most public transport users will pay less because they won't be travelling through as many zones," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"Modelling from the Department of Transport and Main Roads shows that this package will attract as many as 8 million new users to public transport a year.
"This is the equivalent of taking 7 million cars off our roads every year and fewer cars means less congestion across our local and major road network."
Mr Hinchliffe said commuters would enjoy savings across the South East Queensland network.
"Public transport users would have been slugged with 2.5 percent higher fares in January this year under the LNP's annual scheduled fare hike, however the Government announced in December last year they would keep fares frozen while the Fare Review was underway," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"As a Government we'll keep fares frozen to give us time to implement the Fare Review and pass on savings via the go card ticketing system.
"This means commuter won't pay any extra on fares this year and can budget ahead.
"The Government will also guarantee that fares will not be increased in 2017 when the major fare savings are passed on."
Under the Fairer Fares package, key changes include:
- Fewer zones: SEQ's 23 travel zones will be simplified to eight.
- Cheaper fares: Fares for all zones of travel will be slashed.
- Extending off-peak discount: Peak period won't start until after 6am in the morning to encourage earlier travel and give these users cheaper fares. The 20 per cent off-peak discount will now apply for all travel between 7pm and 6am, between 8.30am and 3.30pm Monday-Friday and all day on weekends.
- Kids go free on weekends: Children under the age of 15 will be able to travel free on the weekend on a child go card.
- Senior discounts: Seniors and pensioners will retain the 'One, Two FREE' travel
- 8 and 50 for commuters: The Government will scrap 'Nine + FREE' and replace with 8 paid journeys and 50 per cent off subsequent journeys per week to deliver higher travel savings to more customers.
- Concessions for Queensland job seekers: TransLink will work with Federal Agencies so jobseekers on Newstart or Youth Allowance will be able to access concession fares from early 2017
- Concession fares for asylum seekers: In line with other states like New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT, asylum seekers in Queensland will be able to access concession fares to use public transport from early 2017.
- New Fares Advisory Panel: The Government will establish a Public Transport Fares Advisory Panel to provide independent advice on future public transport fares, products and ticketing.
More information is available from the TransLink website at <https://haveyoursay.translink.com.au/SEQ-Fare-Review/>.