THE Queensland Government's Fairer Fares package will come into effect from this Monday, 19 December, ahead of its official launch on 1 January next year, with most customers expected to save between four and 34 per cent per trip.
Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said under the Fairer Fares package, customers will save several hundred dollars each year with cheaper fares across new larger zones of travel, as well as an extended off-peak discount, kids-go-free on weekends, and a range of travel incentives.
"These fare reforms are the most significant change to South East Queensland's public transport network in a decade and will deliver cost of living relief to at least 93 per cent of commuters," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"The Fairer Fares package was announced in June for a 1 January 2017 start. We will roll it out from Monday to provide an extra two weeks of fare relief for customers.
"TransLink has been able roll out the package ahead of schedule with lower fares starting from first service on all public transport modes from Monday, 19 December."
Mr Hinchliffe said the Fairer Fares package, which was subject to wide-ranging consultation through the SEQ Fare Review Taskforce, would encourage more people to choose public transport over private vehicles.
"Taking the equivalent of seven million cars off our roads every year will mean less congestion on our local and major road networks," he said.
Minister Hinchliffe said compressing the zonal structure would benefit commuters in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Sunshine Coast, Redland and Moreton Bay.
"Commuters will pay less across the whole network including for local travel within their communities as well as for longer trips," Minister Hinchliffe said.
The key changes to SEQ's fare structure under the State Government's Fairer Fares package:
- Fewer zones: SEQ's 23 travel zones will be simplified to eight.
- Cheaper fares: Fares for all zones of travel will be reduced.
- 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 in 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 in 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.