Government makes acutely disappointing decision to increase fares
Community public transport group Future Transport Tasmania (FTT) today condemned the State Government’s decision to increase fares for Metro Tasmania.
FTT’s position on Metro bus fares continues to be that there should not be any fare increases, but that the State Government should instead be working on ways to increase patronage, not the cost of the tickets. The recently released Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources Draft Southern Integrated Transport Plan makes no significant suggestion of increasing bus services but simply hopes that increased patronage will occur. The Plan does include a strategy to ‘Encourage and support greater use of public passenger transport’, but does not actually mention any increase in bus services.
It appears the State Government has also failed to identify that reducing travel times and travel congestion, requires promotion and easy availability of alternative public transport options. Whilst a small amount of bike lanes have recently been created, for most people the only alternative form of transport is a bus, yet we have recently seen a reduction in total services on the Eastern shore.
Future Transport Tasmania Spokesperson, Toby Rowallan, said; ‘Once again public transport is losing out. The State Government wants to recover costs. We maintain that this should not be the primary concern. We need a plan to increase patronage, with increased services and much better promotion and advertising of the benefits of public transport, in particular the savings that people can make.’
‘Increasing fares is only going to discourage current users, but it will certainly not encourage new users. Therefore whilst they may well recover more of the costs, there is a significant possibility that with a decline in passenger numbers, Metro Tasmania will in real terms actually lose more money. We do note that there will be no increase in the cost of concession cards, and we fully support that, however this should be about getting more people on buses, and in that regard the Government’s policy is a failure.’
‘We are greatly concerned that the State Government’s priority appears to be revenue and not people. With no additional use of public transport there will inevitably be an increase in traffic congestion, with all the consequences that brings, including pollution in particular. If we had increased frequency and scope of bus services it would be the other way around,’ finished Mr Rowallan.