Fares go north


If you live in a northern state or territory, prepare to dig deeper to pay the bus fare this January

Fares go north
Fares go north

By David Goeldner | January 4, 2013

Fare rises in the Northern Territory, and yet another price hike in Queensland has respective transport ministers fending off fare flak.

Northern Territory pensioners, seniors and carers have had free bus travel privileges removed as the territory’s government claims its fare hikes will cover network costs.

Northern Territory concession card holders started paying a $1 per trip from January 1 after travelling for free since 2009.

NT Transport Minister Adam Giles defended the change saying the fare increases are intended to lessen the burden on taxpayers.

"Since the last bus fare revision in 2006, the cost of providing urban bus services across the territory has increased by 65 percent from $13.46 million to $22.22 million," he says.

"Territorians, through the Northern Territory Government, are subsidising more than 90 percent of that cost in providing the public bus system."

In 2009, free bus travel for students, seniors, and concession holders was introduced.

Giles says the free travel scheme has contributed to a significant drop in overall government revenue.

He says the national average revenue from public transport is about 20 percent while in the territory it is less than 10 percent.

"Ticket sales data suggests the majority of the approximately 5.2 million passenger trips undertaken each year across the network are currently free of charge," Giles says.

Giles says as the territory bus network grows, more revenue raising measures will need to be adopted, including commercial advertising on buses.

Darwin Bus Service’s business will also be broadened to allow bus availability for private and school charter hire.

Other fare increases include the Adult three-hour fare up from $2 to $3, the Adult daily fare up from $5 to $7, and the Adult weekly fare up from $15 to $20.

Students under the age of 18 and the vision-impaired or veterans will continue to travel for free.

Meanwhile in Queensland, get set for Monday’s price hikes as the 7.5 percent fare rise kicks in across the TransLink network.

Despite Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson’s protests whilst in opposition about the former Labor Government’s succession of 15 percent fare increases each January, making Brisbane the third most expensive city in the world for public transport, the LNP won’t be budging from another increase.

Emerson cites Queensland’s state of its finances as reason enough to keep the fare rise, although halved, but a rise nevertheless.

Happy New Year.

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