Buses are a key part of Brisbane's transport infrastructure.

Buses are a key part of Brisbane's transport infrastructure. Photo: Michelle Smith

More than 78,500 people in southeast Queensland now take a free bus, train or ferry trip each week after the Newman Government introduced their "free trips after nine journeys" policy in June 2012.

Since that time there have been 7.1 million free journeys on southeast Queensland's public transport system.

However Transport Minister Scott Emerson said there was little evidence of commuters rorting the system, an issue raised consistently by rail lobby group, Rail Back on Track.

Mr Emerson said there was only a slight increase in the percentage of commuters using the nine free journeys early in the week. 

“Latest figures show 0.6 per cent of Go Cards reach a free trip on a Wednesday compared with 0.5 per cent before the policy was introduced," Mr Emerson said.

"This negates claims there is wide-spread rorting of the policy,” he said.

The Queensland Government has set aside $38 million over the next four years for its "nine and free" policy.

Rail Back on Track has consistently called for a simple reduction in weekend fares to replace the "nine tips and free policy" arguing it is costing Department of Transport and Main Roads* money.

Rail Back on Track consistently argues that commuters are legally taking' short commutes' in their lunch breaks mid-week to quickly make up the nine journeys.

These one-zone journeys chew up $3.53 on the Go Card.

But they save the commuter several 21-zone, 22-zone or 23-zone journeys home to the Gold Coast or Caboolture at more than $21 a trip, because they have built up "nine journeys" by mid-week and the bus or train trips after that are free.

However Mr Emerson argues the policy is encouraging more people to use public transport.

“Many of these trips would not have been taken without the incentive of free travel with the policy encouraging passengers to choose to get out of their cars and on to public transport,'' he said.

“Under our policy a passenger using their Go Card travelling to and from work five days a week can travel home for free on Friday and then enjoy free travel all weekend."

* Correction: The name of the department has been changed from Queensland Transport to the Department of Transport and Main Roads, which is the agency's current name.