LNP’s bold election promise to deliver free public transport
SENIORS and students could have free access to public transport after the LNP made a bold election promise should it win power when Queenslanders hit the polls in October.
The LNP said it would introduce free off-peak travel for all seniors across the Citytrain network, which stretches from Gympie to the Gold Coast and inland to Ipswich, in a bid to alleviate road congestion.
Students starting full-time university and TAFE courses across Queensland will also be given $500 vouchers to pay for bus or train fares - or petrol if they live in areas lacking public transport.
"My plan will get more Queenslanders off the roads and create more capacity on peak-hour trains by encouraging travel at less crowded times," LNP leader Deb Frecklington said.
Under the LNP travel plan, seniors would be offered free travel on the Citytrain network between 8.30am and 3.30pm and between 7pm and 6am, as well as all-day on weekends and public holidays.
The scheme would cost an estimated $2.7m a year.
Student travel vouchers would be available to those starting new full-time courses to encourage them to defer car purchases and use public transport instead.
The two-year trial scheme would cost $5m a year.
Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden said like any promise, budgets need to be taken into consideration.
"I guess like any promise the LNP has made, they have to say where the money is coming from and how it's going to affect the existing budgets for Queensland Rail," he said.
"I'd like to see the time period that peak hour trains operate be extended from the short period they operate now, so we could have more peak hour trains."
Member for Jordan Charis Mullen said the government already covers about 80 per cent of the cost of every bus, tram, ferry and train ticket.
"The LNP's so-called 'congestion busting' policy will only apply during off-peak - it won't benefit anyone who wants to travel on public transport during normal commuting times," she said.
"Students who are already enrolled or who only study part time will miss out too because the student travel vouchers will only be given to new students starting full-time courses next year or the year after."
Member for Bundamba Lance McCallum echoed his fellow Labor members'comments.
"Seniors and university students already have access to concession fairs on public transport, under the scheme we introduced back in 2016 to make public transport fairs fairer," Mr McCallum said.