Fare cap unfair

Melbourne’s PTUA says the Victorian Government’s flat fare cap will unfairly affect users

The Public Transport Users Association has slammed the Victorian Government's announcement of a flat fare cap for Melbourne as a lost opportunity to reform fares in a sustainable direction, as announced this week.

PTUA President Tony Morton says by applying a Zone 1 fare cap right across the metropolitan area, the system is now forced to charge the same price to travel two streets away as to travel right across Melbourne.

"If the system has to charge more for the longest journeys in future, it'll have to charge the same for a short trip too, even if there's still a slight discount for Zone 2 relative to Zone 1."

Morton says when Zone 3 was abolished in 2007, fares were quickly raised to claw back the difference.

In 2006 it cost $52.20 a week to travel in all three zones, and now costs $60.60 a week to travel in two zones.

"The saving for those outer suburban travellers was eaten up within just five years, and we fully expect the same will occur for Zone 2 travellers with this measure."

Morton says the clawing back of revenue would spell bad news for single-zone as well as multi-zone travellers.

"The people likely to suffer in the longer term are those who want to use public transport to go to their local shops, to take the kids to school, or who work somewhere other than the inner city," he says. 

"Once these become the only fares the system can charge for any trip, the only way they can go is up - a long way up, just as was seen in Adelaide where you now pay $9.40 for an all-day ticket."

Morton says there are better ways to set fares in a manner that is fair to passengers and competitive with car travel, but keeps public transport on a sustainable financial footing.

"The biggest anomaly with our fare system at present is the way the price more than doubles when you go from Zone 2 to Zone 1," he says. 

"We need to reduce the gap between the single-zone and multi-zone fare, but just abolishing it isn't the way to go about it."

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