September 27, 2011
Commuters are fearful that if bus fuel, predominantly diesel, is caught up in the carbon tax scheme it will mean rising bus fares, according to September’s quarterly Transport Opinion Survey (TOPS).
The survey commissioned by the University of Sydney reveals that almost two thirds of Australians don’t want the Federal Government to include bus fuel in the scheme, although bus operators will be required to pay carbon tax from 2014.
Household private vehicles will be exempt from the tax.
Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies Director Professor David Hensher says a carbon tax will increase the cost of travelling on buses.
He says when coupled with the exemption for household vehicles, the bus fuel tax creates a disincentive for people to use public transport.
“Clearly this creates a distortion at odds with other public policies to increase public transport patronage,” Hensher says.
Despite the concern about the proposed carbon tax, public confidence in local transport increased slightly on the June Quarter’s results.
Hensher says this is due largely to an improvement in confidence in Victoria.
Confidence about transport nationally remained constant, with 48 per cent of respondents saying transport would improve across Australia in the next five years.
“We will continue to monitor community confidence each quarter,” Hensher says.
In each of the quarterly surveys to date about half of Australians nominate public transport as the nation’s highest transport priority, twice as many as those who say road improvements are the most pressing transport issue.