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.

Fares 'up 22%' in Labor's trains plan

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

24-hour public transport plan 'Labor's mistake'

Victorians would pay higher fares under Labor's proposed 24-hour public transport scheme, government claims, saying the figures don't add up.

PT0M0S 620 349

An election-year row has erupted over the cost of Labor's pledge to deliver 24-hour public transport on weekends, with the Napthine government saying the policy would add as much as 22 per cent to fares.

Labor has estimated that the policy, announced by Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews on Sunday, would cost about $50 million for a year-long trial of trains, trams and buses running all night on Fridays and Saturdays.

But in a sign that the usual election-year costings debate could have started early, Treasurer Michael O'Brien released an alternative estimate he said was based on information provided by Public Transport Victoria and the Department of Justice. It shows the trial would cost $102.2 million to operate, more than double the Labor estimate.

West Footscray station at night.

West Footscray station at night. Photo: Craig Sillitoe

''This blowout alone would cause a 14.7 per cent across-the-board fare increase to all PTV passengers to pay for Labor's promise,'' Mr O'Brien said. The analysis includes provisions for an extra 530 Protective Services Officers across 212 metropolitan train stations. It estimated this could cost an extra $54 million, because enterprise agreements stipulate PSOs cannot be employed on a part-time basis.

Mr Andrews has acknowledged extra PSOs will be needed for the trial, although he has declined to be specific, saying only the number would be ''not huge''. He also has denied there had been a shift in the opposition's concerns about the armed officers.

Mr O'Brien also accused Labor of failing to realise an extra eight trains would be needed, costing $192 million to cover disruptions to night-time maintenance scheduling. This, he said, would add an extra 7.3 per cent to public transport fare increases after spreading the capital cost over four years.

Although it remains unclear how Labor would fund the scheme, the analysis suggested meant public transport fares would need to be lifted by as much as 22 per cent to cover the total cost of the policy.

Financial credibility will form a key a part of the Coalition's re-election pitch, with the government campaign to highlight Victoria's AAA credit rating and strong budget position compared with other states. It will also focus on past problems with major projects.

Mr O'Brien said the analysis showed Labor had ''learnt nothing from their previous major project disasters such as myki and the desalination plant''.

But the government is also deeply worried about perceptions it is building the $6 billion to $8 billion east-west road at the expense of public transport.

It follows an Age/Nielsen poll late last year that found 74 per cent said improving public transport should be a higher priority than the east-west road.

Opposition public transport spokeswoman Jill Hennessy said the costings analysis were ''just desperate claims from a ''clearly rattled'' Premier Denis Napthine.

''Labor is confident in its costings,'' she said.

139 comments

  • Hmmn, seems incredibly unfair for people who mostly use public transport during the day, to subsidize people who want to go out on the weekends. Last time I used public transport late at night, I was nearly assaulted by an indigenous man angry about everything white people have done to him and all his ancestors. Was rescued by two young women. Have not used public transport at night since then.

    Commenter
    Rhubarbapple
    Date and time
    January 22, 2014, 6:56AM
    • @Rhubarbapple

      Are you suggesting that our indigenous peoples should be kept off public transport in order to make it safe and viable at night? Surely not?

      At no point has the opposition suggested it will increase public transport fares to fund all night services. You are falling for political spin.

      Commenter
      Don
      Location
      Hawthorn
      Date and time
      January 22, 2014, 7:14AM
    • I was assaulted on the train by a white man angry about the price of his steroids and sleeve tattoos. What the hell has this got to do with convenient public transport or state subsidies?

      Commenter
      Headshaker
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      January 22, 2014, 7:20AM
    • Grow a pair.

      Commenter
      bob
      Date and time
      January 22, 2014, 7:20AM
    • Funny...it seems more unfair to me that the entire state will have to subsidise a tunnel that most will not use and those that will also pay a toll...

      Commenter
      Disgruntled
      Date and time
      January 22, 2014, 7:24AM
    • @Rhubarbapple, maybe next time you use public transport have your mummy hold your hand.

      Commenter
      The Other Guy
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      January 22, 2014, 7:56AM
    • "It shows the trial would cost $102.2 million to operate, more than double the Labor estimate....."

      Well, we already know how good Labor is at costing anything. After all, it's not their money!

      Why should the rest of us have to pay for the King St party people? There are already Night Rider buses - put a few PSO's on those and let the partiers use those.

      Commenter
      ken
      Date and time
      January 22, 2014, 8:01AM
    • No, it is not unfair for public transport to be provided for people who wish to use it at other times. You only want public transport provided only when you want to use it? That is unfair! And what subsidy? Thats just the governments dumb scare.

      Commenter
      D Martin
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      January 22, 2014, 8:07AM
    • Napthine and his cronies don't want any increase in public transport patronage or increases in train services.
      This could effect their ability to raise toll road fees and taxes on toll roads, such as the multi billion dollar East-West toll road, being planned for their political donors in the road lobby industry.

      Commenter
      Rail Now
      Date and time
      January 22, 2014, 8:18AM
    • @disgruntled - have you had to go east to west recently? If you did, you'd know exactly why we need this tunnel. Hundreds of thousands travel in this direction each week and we need this missing link to get us there without the gridlock & delays. We need to ask ourselves, which should come first: a road that will help thousands get to work each day, or a train that will get party animals home at night?

      Commenter
      ken
      Date and time
      January 22, 2014, 8:21AM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo