Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ekka-va ticket queue!

Ekka 2011 
Public confidence in SE Queensland's public ticketing appears to decreasing faster than the quality of BrizCommuter's puns. Approximately 1/3  of Ekka visitors travel there by train, many using  Exhibition station on the Exhibition Loop Line which incurs an extra charge. Many of these users rarely use public transport, and in some cases their yearly Ekka visit is often their only public transport trip of the year. Thus many of these Ekka visitors have little need for a go card. In past years Ekka visitors could purchase a daily or off-peak daily paper ticket at their originating station so that they wouldn't have to purchase a separate return ticket for the journey home. Unfortunately, as TransLink have axed daily tickets, and singles have to be used within 2 hours of the ticket purchase, this resulted in extremely long queues at Exhibition station to purchase tickets for the journey home. This resulted in frustrating hour long ticket queues spoiling the end to what was supposed to be a fun day. Yet again, the Queensland Government and TransLink's ticketing policies have further tarnished the already bad image of public transport in SE Queensland.

It has been reported in this Courier Mail article that due to crowding at Exhibition station, the gates to the platforms had to be opened on Friday and Sunday to allow for free travel home (and thus increasing the risk of potential deportation). TransLink also had to change their policy to allow the return journey single ticket to be purchased earlier in the day. Of course, neither of these issues would have happened if some of the following were done:

  • Integrated return train fare and entrance ticket - the Ekka entrance tickets can already be purchased at stations, but bizarrely not the return ticket. Not the smart state is it?
  • The above, but with a free go card!
  • Free travel to/from the Ekka, as per major sporting events - the RNA seem to be crying poor on this one, even though it is done for poorly attended Brisbane Roar matches at Suncorp Stadium.
  • Bring back sensibly priced daily or return tickets on either paper tickets or the resurrected go card lite for occasional users. 
Once again, SE Queensland's public transport system is only "World Class" in incompetence!

Update 26/08/2011

It has been mentioned in the media, that as well as the above mentioned fiasco, TransLink have ripped off commuters by charging peak fares on Peoples Day public holiday. Whilst this public holiday was for Brisbane only, TransLink/QR only ran a modified Sunday train timetable as the majority of SE Queensland public transport users commute to/from Brisbane's CBD. To charge peak fares when only running a Sunday timetable continues to show the utter contempt that TransLink have for the travelling public.  

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