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Free fares capture coastal customers

Using free fares to introduce Sunshine Coast residents to bus travel appears to work: survey

February 25, 2013

An attempt to lure more Sunshine Coast residents on to buses by offering free fares during recent holidays appears to have worked, with majority of commuters saying they would use public transport more as result of the initiative.

A Sunshine Coast Council survey shows about 90 percent of people say they would or might use public transport more as a result of the free transport program.

More than a third of people who had never used public transport prior to the initiative say that they will now use public transport because of the program.

Council figures show about 250,000 passenger trips were taken in the 12-day free bus period this year, an average of about 20,800 trips per day.

Last year there were about 300,000 passenger trips over 14 days, averaging 21,400 trips per day.

Transport Strategy Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski says the survey analysis was promising, despite the numbers being slightly down on last year.

“People are using public transport during the free bus period that never usually would, which is really encouraging,” he says.

The recent introduction of a double-decker bus on the coast also proved popular, according to council, with many people riding just for the experience.

“Our focus now is to do everything we can to ensure this support for sustainable travel options like public buses continues throughout the year,” Baberowski says.

Key findings from the Free Holiday Buses survey include:

  • 96 percent of respondents support the free holiday buses program
  • 93 percent were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with the trip on the free buses
  • 24 percent never usually use public transport
  • 71 percent say the program has improved their awareness of public transport on the coast, particularly in relation to public transport service routes (53 percent)
  • 60 percent will use public transport more in the future as a result of the free holiday buses and 28 percent may use public transport
  • 37 percent of people who had never used public transport say that they would use it as a result of the program.

The free holiday buses program is a partnership between council and TransLink, providing free transport on all Sunshine Coast public buses from December 26,
2012 to January
6, 2013.

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