Qld’s free Friday PT idea

Fare free Friday’s proposed by Brisbane mayoral election candidate to ease the cost of PT

A radical proposal to introduce free fares on Fridays on all Brisbane City Council bus and ferry services got people’s attention this week.

The idea is one of the key policies being pushed by Labor’s Brisbane mayoral candidate Rod Harding, and is central to his wider integrated traffic and transport program called Connecting Brisbane’s Future, which was officially launched at an event in the CBD recently.

"My Connecting Brisbane’s Future policy is all about new solutions to tackle Brisbane’s growing transport and congestion crisis," he says.

Brisbane bus patronage has declined over the past two years and although it is estimated the cost of delivering free public transport once a week is about $28.5 million, Harding believes this large investment is justified.

While current Brisbane mayor Graham Quirk, who is running for another term has labelled the plan unworkable, it’s not surprising Harding chose to campaign on the issue, as the cost of public transport is now subject of an independent review.

"Brisbane residents are calling out for cheaper public transport," Harding says.

"People tell me every day the cost of public transport burns a real hole in their weekly budget."

The Free Fridays would only apply from May 1 until the end of this year, and its adoption is subject to Harding being elected, as Brisbane residents vote on March 19.

"While we await the state government’s fare review findings, fare free Friday will provide immediate cost-of-living relief in the meantime," Harding says.

"It’s not everything, but fare free Friday will help ease the weekly hip-pocket pain felt by so many Brisbane residents."

Those who catching a bus every Friday could save more than $400 a year, if the scheme was introduced.

"The big winners from fare free Friday will be those in the outer suburbs, who stand to be better off by up to $417," Harding says.

"I’m confident fare free Friday will encourage residents from right across Brisbane to leave the car at home, save money and help drive the public transport culture our city needs for the future."

Quirk has similarly focused heavily on improved bus services in the lead up to his campaign, with the recent redirection of services through Legacy Way leading to faster travel time and the introduction of more frequent bus services.

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