JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Coalition clamouring to win back poll advantage on public transport

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Free Melb CBD trams from January 1

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine promises that free CBD trams and a cap on train fares will be in the May state budget, meaning the policies will happen whether the Coalition wins the election, or not.

PT0M0S 620 349

ANALYSIS

In one sense, this is clever hip-pocket politics. By announcing the introduction of zone 1 fares across Melbourne's entire train network from January 1, the Coalition is directly pitching to voters in a swath of seats in Melbourne's suburbs where cost-of-living pressures are a paramount issue.

</p>

For commuters in marginal electorates like Mordialloc, Carrum and Frankston — all of which helped deliver government for the Coalition in 2010 — the saving will be significant.

At the same time, a promise to offer free tram travel in the city and Docklands will allow the government to spruik its public transport credentials more broadly, with particular appeal for people working in the CBD.

What you do have to wonder about is the timing. That the Coalition has fired this significant shot now — eight months before the November 29 election and more than a month before the budget — shows just how rattled Napthine is.

Before the 2010 election, public and private polling showed the issue was a clear negative for John Brumby and Labor and a positive for Ted Baillieu and the Coalition.

In the space of three-and-a-bit years, the Coalition government has somehow managed to squander that crucial advantage, such that public transport is now seen as a negative for the the government and a positive for Labor.

The latest policy offering represents an attempt to reclaim that advantage, or, at the very least, neutralise the issue. An extensive taxpayer-funded advertising campaign spruiking the government's public transport credentials forms another part of the attack.

Trouble is, the policy, which will cost about $100 million a year, will do little to wedge Labor on public transport. It will be funded in the May 6 budget. Exactly how, the government is refusing to say. The opposition has no intention of standing in the way of the policy.

In other words, no matter who wins, separate fares will be gone and tram travel will be free in the city from January 1.

The danger for the Coalition is that by the time the election rolls around, voters will, to some extent, accept it as a given.

65 comments

  • Keeping promises already made would be a great start. Can't trust this man to keep this promise, when he has already walked away from all the previous promises on public transport

    Commenter
    BacchusMarsh
    Date and time
    March 26, 2014, 12:25PM
    • Just imagine if they'd delivered on their promise to build a station at Southland by now. That would have done them more good in Mordialloc and Carrum than anything.

      And just imagine if the Doncaster train line were already under construction. And the Rowville line built as far as Monash University, and already running trains back and forth from Oakleigh...

      And what was that about building a train line to Avalon Airport? No, I think I just imagined that one ...

      Commenter
      Arthur Figgis
      Date and time
      March 26, 2014, 12:45PM
    • This is just window dressing for the next state election and the Liberals will continue to raise public transport fares above and beyond a reasonable level.

      Napthine is a puppet of the road lobby and will continue to support more expensive toll roads at the expense of improving public transport.

      Gone are their promises on an Airport , Doncaster, and Rowville railway line, and Metro Rail Tunnel.

      This government is anti-public transport and will never deliver the 21st century public transport infrastructure that Victoria so desperately needs.

      Commenter
      Rail Now
      Date and time
      March 26, 2014, 1:01PM
    • @Rail now - yes - it is a blatant grab to regain some of the many lost votes.
      Naptime needs to be told: Too little; TOO LATE.

      Commenter
      Jump
      Date and time
      March 26, 2014, 2:25PM
    • If you are a politician reading this, or a politician's advisor, on either side of politics, please refer to the above poll, which no doubt reflects your own research, and somehow find or formulate the courage to cast aside your ineptitude and make a decision prior to the election (yes that's right without any more decades, or hundreds of millions spent on consulting), to build the metro tunnel now. Then please begin to meaningfully implement that decision soon after the election (ie in the same term), so that the first step in addressing Melbourne's half a century long public transport crisis can be delivered within the next half a century.

      Commenter
      Holden Caulfield
      Location
      Woodend
      Date and time
      March 26, 2014, 2:39PM
    • Look over there, It's a unicorn. No, it's free beer!

      The Libs are a car crash, yet will regain power because of the stupidity of the public and the completely uselessness of the ALP and what's left of the Greens.

      Classic, throw a shiny new distraction at a public so battered by bad news from these guys that they actually buy it.

      Mmmm, beerrrr...

      Commenter
      Suckers
      Date and time
      March 26, 2014, 3:05PM
  • No mention of V/Line fares. Geelong is about the same distance SW as the Met spreads in the SE, so why not make Geelong Zone 1?

    Commenter
    BB
    Location
    Geelong
    Date and time
    March 26, 2014, 12:32PM
    • Why not make Geelong Zone 1? I guess the member for South Barwon wants to lose his seat after one term, and the Liberals don't like the look of the seat of Bellarine either.

      Commenter
      Arthur Figgis
      Date and time
      March 26, 2014, 12:50PM
    • I have never understood why Geelong is not included in MET zone.

      Stony Point train station is further away from Southern Cross Station (Spencer Street?) than North Geelong station. But as soon as you include Geelong in the MET zone, I am sure the bus fares in Geelong would also have to increase too.

      Commenter
      Phillip Parker
      Location
      Bittern
      Date and time
      March 26, 2014, 2:01PM
    • Well think deeply about this, It might have something to do with the toll road called - Burnley Tunnel - , if they improved Geelongs PT, in which they obviously should, they would lose millions of dollars in revenue through tolls, just the same reason we don't have a rail line in Doncaster or rail to the airport because investors in toll roads will lose millions in revenue. Politicians do not act in your interests nor the interests of the state, they act in their own interests and those of the highest bidder. It wont buy my vote, because the last election was held on Public transport and thats probably why Ballieu was moved on by the party, because he refused to publicly back a toll road after winning an election based on improving PT. The sad fact of the matter is this state has become very costly to live in and they have already drained every single dollar from the citizens they possibly can. Thats why I dont vote liberal or labor they are the same thing, they all attended the same schools hang out in the same crowds and all find the best ways to squeeze citizens for every cent they can. Crony Capitalists.

      Commenter
      Geoff
      Date and time
      March 26, 2014, 2:55PM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo