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Carbon tax: public lose

If you rely on public transport, be prepared to get slugged when a carbon tax kicks in

July 18, 2011

Transport academics have backed NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s claim that public transport users could pay up to $150 a year in increased fares as a result of a carbon tax.

University of Sydney ITLS Professor John Stanley says the cost increases to public transport users as a result of the tax would be significant.

“Fares would need to increase by just over 3 percent to cover the extra operational costs for public transport under the scheme,” Stanley says.

“Across the country I estimate the cost of operating public transport will go up by almost $100 million per year, while motorists aren’t being asked to pay anything extra for their carbon costs.”

Monash University’s Professor of Public Transport Graham Currie says perverse logic was being applied to encourage people to drive more whilst making public transport costlier under the scheme.

“Our major cities are choking on congestion and Australians are devoting a proportion of disposable income to travel that is impacting too heavily on the amenity of our lives,” Currie says.

He says bus and rail public transport are part of the solution to the economic cost of congestion.

“The environmental impact of transport related carbon emissions and the mobility needs of our communities and the plan should recognise this by incentivising public transport not penalising it under the carbon tax,” Currie says.

Bus Industry Confederation Executive Director Michael Apps says the increased costs would contribute to the problem of congestion in our cities.

“The carbon tax should be about the Federal Government working with State Governments to reduce carbon emissions not working against good economic, environmental and social outcomes by driving up costs,” Apps says.

“Congestion costs the Australian economy almost $15 billion annually and is more than a dollar figure, it is a problem that hurts everyone who lives in our cities by lowering their quality of life and affecting them financially.”

Apps says a full bus takes 40 cars off the road and getting rid of a second car can save a family more than $5000 a year.

“If we get our public transport systems right and get motorists using them, there are clear emissions reductions and economic benefits,” he says.

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