Reconsider fare hikes: Heart Foundation to Qld Govt

By: Jason Whittaker


The Heart Foundation is urging the Queensland Government to reconsider its pricing increase for the public transport system in south

The Heart Foundation is urging the Queensland Government to reconsider its pricing increase for the public transport system in south east Queensland, arguing the cost increases will act as a disincentive to use.

Heart Foundation Chief Executive Cameron Prout says significant price increases are a real disincentive to encouraging greater public transport usage.

"The Heart Foundation would like to see a comprehensive range of measures introduced to increase patronage, such as affordable and equitable pricing, more funding for the TravelSmart program, and more regular and coordinated services," he says.

"Another important consideration is to help remove barriers to people using public transport.

"We know there are price sensitivities that will reduce car usage, such as petrol prices, congestion taxes, and car registration. We certainly don’t want price sensitivities to reduce or inhibit public transport patronage."

Prout says people from lower socio-economic areas should not be disadvantaged.

The South East Queensland Integrated Regional Transport Plan highlights that social justice is a key consideration, ensuring that the costs and benefits are shared equitably across the region.

"These price rises are well above CPI, with paper tickets increasing by up to 40 percent," Prout says.

"Urban sprawl means that people from lower socio-economic areas need to travel further distances.

"These people will be hit the hardest and may opt to use their car instead. The healthy and green choice, has to be the easy choice."

Professor Chris Rissel, keynote speaker on active transport at the National Physical Activity Conference currently being held in Brisbane, says that public transport is a key area for both obesity prevention and climate change.

"Research clearly shows that those people who are physically active for 30 minutes or more a day are less likely to suffer from conditions such as heart disease," Rissel says.

"People using public transport usually include some walking at one or both ends of the trip, adding to the health benefits."

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