|Still too expensive in 2012!|
So who will benefit? Frequent users who make more than 10 journeys (excluding free travel to sporting events) between Monday to Sunday. Students make up a considerable portion of these users, as many students have to travel to/from university as well as to/from jobs. With all journeys being free after the 10th journey irrespective of zones used, a free weekend trip to the surf on the Gold Coast could be a good use of go card for an inner-city dwelling student! Which frequent users will not benefit? Shift workers (such as BrizCommuter) who do not always work in a Monday to Sunday pattern. For example when BrizCommuter works a weekend shift, he will usually work 9 days consecutively from Wednesday to Thursday. As the frequent user discount resets on the Sunday evening, then despite 18 journeys across 9 consecutive days, the frequent user discount will not kick into action! The frequent user discount will also not apply for tourists making multiple journeys over a few days, but not making it to the elusive 11th journey. There is still considerable need for daily, and weekly/7-day ticketing options to make public transport use more attractive in SE Queensland for all users.
So will the new frequent user discount help with the rising cost of living? With the 15% fare rise in January 2012, 10 zone 1-2 peak journeys will cost an estimated $35.70. Currently, 10 zone 1-2 peak journeys cost $31.10. With the current 50% discount resulting in weekend off-peak zone 1-2 fares costing $1.33, then unless you made 14 or more journeys between Monday and Sunday, the 2011 fare structure would still be cheaper than the 2012 fare structure. Very few public transport users make 14 journeys in one week, so for the vast majority of public transport users the new fare structure will still result in an overall fare increase putting even more pressure on the hip pocket. With very limited public transport improvements planned for this financial year, the Queensland Government will need to do far more to win back votes from public transport users!
Pollie quote of the week in this press release is from Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk referring to the 20% off-peak discount "This will give people even more of an incentive to travel outside of the peak period and take advantage of the growing number of high frequency bus, train, and ferry services". Ms Palaszczuk, can you please tell use where there have or will be any new high frequency off-peak train services this financial year?
Finally, some food for thought. If you reach your free 11th journey in one week, then statistically you will have had a 33% chance of incurring a $5 to $10 fixed fare!
Campbell Newman has announced that if elected, the LNP will provide free journeys after the 9th journey instead of the 10th. Whilst this will give benefit to more public transport users, the policy just stinks of political point scoring. There was no announcement of lowering base fares, which are already some of the highest in the world. There was also no announcement of daily ticketing options such as a daily cap, or free journeys after the 3rd for example for tourists. BrizCommuter is very concerned that whoever wins the next election, that public transport users will continue to suffer poor frequency and extortionate fares.