Fare hike to boost service, seats
AS PART of her quest to get more bums on seats, Transport Minister Rachel Nolan is hoping south-east Queenslanders will cop a 15 per cent train fare increase each year up to 2014.
From January 17, all fares will increase by 15 per cent – the first increase of four – which Translink said would help fund another 305,000 seats each week across south-east Queensland – including 150,000 on the Ipswich-Caboolture line.
Although the fare increase will definitely happen this month, Translink is yet to set a date for the change to the timetable, except to say that it will happen sometime before July 2011.
Daily Ipswich-to-Brisbane rail commuter Anna Schaub, 37, said the improvements were needed urgently.
She said passengers who travelled during peak hour were paying top dollar for a sub-standard service.
“The trains are so busy at peak times and I have to leave home an hour earlier because the trains are often late,” Mrs Schaub said.
Commuter advocacy group Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow said he didn't expect the public to react well to the fare hike.
“Ipswich people are already unhappy about the withdrawal of bus services – I think it will be a difficult thing for the Government to sell,” he said.
Among the planned improvements is for services to be increased to six to 12-minute intervals at suburban stations during peak times.
There will be significant benefits for seniors and pensioners, however Mr Dow questioned why students were not allowed the same discounts.
A Translink spokesman said the changes would result in a more convenient service for all.
“In addition to more seats, the Government has recently delivered new benefits for seniors, pensioners and veterans, who will travel for free after two journeys in a day and receive an increased discount of 15 per cent when travelling off-peak,” he said.
Translink is phasing out of weekly, monthly and daily paper tickets across the network.
Mr Dow encouraged commuters to visit railbackontrack.org and click on the smart Go Card user guide to find tips on how to use the new system the cheapest way.