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Fare satisfaction up but has long way to go

Commuters have been happier with transit fares in recent months.

Commuters have been happier with transit fares in recent months. Photo: Michelle Smith

Commuter satisfaction with TransLink fares edged higher in the past four months, according to figures released yesterday, but the score of 50 out of 100 remains well short of benchmarks.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the TransLink Tracker results for the first quarter (July to September) had seen satisfaction with affordability improve following record lows from January to March.

He said a $9 million investment in affordability, particularly the initiative offering free travel after nine journeys in a week, was a decisive factor in lifting the satisfaction score from 45 to 50.

Scores are out of a possible 100, with levels of 75 and above classed "best practice" and 60 and above considered "satisfactory".

“Free travel after nine journeys is a success, with passengers enjoying up to 200,000 free weekly trips,” Mr Emerson said.

“As part of our plan to get people back on public transport, frequency and reliability have also been improving, with 28 new daily weekday train services introduced earlier this month.”

But Robert Dow, a spokesman for commuter lobby group Rail Back on Track, said a score of 50 was nothing to be proud of.

Mr Dow, who is petitioning for a review of TransLink's fare structure, said the free-after-nine program was an "illusion” because it favoured inner-city commuters, who were less affected by the system's high base fares.

Under the current TransLink fare structure, a single-trip, one-zone adult paper ticket costs $4.50 – the same trip on a Go Card costs $3.05, or $2.44 off-peak.

An adult single 1-2 section MyBus ticket in New South Wales costs $2.10, while an adult single zero-to-10-kilometre MyTrain ticket costs $3.40.

NSW and Victoria also offer bulk-trip tickets similar to the weekly and monthly tickets scrapped last year by the previous government.

“I think they really do need to review the fares completely and address the fact that there's no family or group ticket on the system in south-east Queensland,” Mr Dow said. “And every other state in Australia affords concession travel to healthcare card holders – Queensland doesn't.

"We also need better travel for seniors — seniors who are in the outer suburbs find it very hard to get the low-cost nine journeys up, but someone in Kelvin Grove can get a couple of quick trips in, and then head off to the Gold Coast for free.

“It's good to see there is some improvement, but when you think it through, it's going to become an unsustainable system. It's going to cause more fare hikes.”

Mr Emerson said fares would go up over the next two years, but at half the rate of the previous government's successive 15 per cent hikes.

The slight improvement for the government came after an embarrassing Go Card glitch led to thousands of customers with auto top-up accounts being charged for trips they never took.

It also follows a disappointing annual report showing patronage across the TransLink network was significantly down last financial year.

27 comments

  • Not a great piece of journalism - just a recycled press release from a department who are trying to defend the indefensible.

    The fares are too expensive - finish of the story.

    Back to the traffic jams!

    Commenter
    P eter E
    Location
    Chapel Hill
    Date and time
    October 26, 2012, 7:27AM
    • Translink is Brisbane centric; some services outside Brisbane are wanting and to have standard Buses send through narrow winding back-alleys is inexplicable.

      Commenter
      Dieter
      Location
      Varsity Lakes
      Date and time
      October 26, 2012, 7:31AM
      • Not really. Springfield and North Lakes both have collector roads which are actually too narrow for standard buses so they have to use some unusual routes.

        This is because the dodgy developers of those projects did a deal with the respective councils to save costs by narrowing roads.

        Commenter
        PO
        Location
        St Lucia
        Date and time
        October 26, 2012, 9:47AM
      • @ PO - what you say is true, but sadly bus operators have not responded by running smaller buses through these areas.

        Commenter
        Jed
        Date and time
        October 26, 2012, 2:11PM
    • hmmm packed morning trains and buses , if I have a early Doctors appointment and I have to travel to the city , the peak hour trains are packed and there are no seats by the time the train gets to Cannon Hill , its standing room only , more is the pity how young people still dont stand for expecting mothers - I do and its matter of good manners , but as to satisfaction with trains , people pay a expensive fare and its like sardine can - having said that the train staff are excellent , and of course translink would say that wouldn't they , hardly likely to bag themselves are they

      Commenter
      Bob Menzies
      Location
      Cannon Hill
      Date and time
      October 26, 2012, 7:52AM
      • "expecting mothers" don't want to be stood up for ! Stoopid feminists got what they asked for !

        Commenter
        enno
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        October 28, 2012, 7:10AM
    • I find the fares reasonable, especially with the free after nine trips policy, generally the trains I catch are on time & clean all QR have to do is keep the fares where they are and only increase them in line with the CPI.

      Commenter
      Brian of Narangba
      Location
      Narangba
      Date and time
      October 26, 2012, 8:32AM
      • No they are not reasonable fares and neither is free trips after 9. Every other city on the planet with smart cards has a daily price cap. In Melbourne you pay no more than $11.08 for unlimited travel all day across the entire network. If commuters prepay 28 days or more you get unlimited travel for just $6.22 per day.

        Commenter
        Meanwhile
        Location
        in the real world
        Date and time
        October 26, 2012, 11:11AM
      • $60.00 per week vs $120.00 plus in fuel, 55 min travel vs stuck on the motorway for who knows how long, yes prices are reasonable

        Commenter
        Brian of Narangba
        Location
        Qld
        Date and time
        October 26, 2012, 1:21PM
      • perhaps next time try travelling without the rose tinted glasses! I'm glad you find the fares reasonable, sadly many people do not. We need to stop wasting money on expensive highways (catering for single occupant vehicles) and start investing in line haul and feeder public transport services. Let the highways back up, just make sure people have access to a bus/train so they can still get to where they want.

        Commenter
        Jed
        Date and time
        October 26, 2012, 2:17PM

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