Brisbane transport to be paperless by 2011

By: Jason Whittaker

The paper ticket will soon be a thing of the past in south east Queensland as the State Government ramps

The paper ticket will soon be a thing of the past in south east Queensland as the State Government ramps up its campaign to convert public transport users to go card technology.

The strategy, announced today by Acting Premier Paul Lucas and Transport Minister Rachel Nolan, will see all paper tickets replaced by the go card by the end of 2010.

From January, public transport users will be offered substantial discounts on go card fares compared with paper tickets.

Paper tickets for a two-zone trip will rise from $2.90 to $3.90 in January, while the rise in go card fares over the same journey will be 38 cents – from $2.32 to $2.70.

The paper ticket phase-out will be met with new off-peak discounts.

"Any go card user who travels between 9am and 3.30pm or after 7pm will receive an automatic 10 percent discount off the single go card fare," Nolan says.

"The off-peak discount will also assist in spreading the peak by encouraging people to travel outside the busiest periods."

The discount will increase by 5 percent each year up to a full 20 percent off-peak discount in 2012.

Other incentives include:
  • the issue of 400,000 free go cards loaded with $10 credit upon registration
  • doubling the retail network for go card purchases
  • massively expanding the number of go card machines at major busway stations and transport interchanges
  • rolling out a Seniors Card that will double as a go card
  • introducing a limited-life go card suitable for occasional users and tourists available everywhere a go card can be purchased.

The fare strategy also aims to return the State Government's per-trip subsidy from 75 percent back to 70 percent within five years.

To help reach that goal, fares will increase 15 percent a year from 2011 to 2014 – or around 40 cents to 60 cents a year for a typical two-zone ticket.

The State Government currently provides $1.2 billion in funding of public transport.

Nolan says that figure won't go backwards; "extra money brought in through the fare box will directly fund new services," she says.

"The actual cost of delivering public transport has increased dramatically in the past five years due but we've seen fares only increasing with CPI in that period."

In the 18 months since the go card roll out began, TransLink has issued almost 450,000 go cards, had more than $120 million loaded on to them and seen 50 million trips taken using the new system.

Using a go card cuts individual boarding time from around 11 seconds to just three, which translates to a time saving of up to seven minutes on an average bus service.

Related stories:
TransLink fare strategy receives mixed response
Reconsider fare hikes: Heart Foundation to QLD Govt

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