Courtney Masters of Bundamba says fare increases may scare people off using public transport.
Courtney Masters of Bundamba says fare increases may scare people off using public transport. David Nielsen

Rail users less than impressed

IPSWICH commuters say they would prefer to see annual fare increases kept low instead of a new Go Card incentive that gives regular users bonus trips.

The State Government announced a plan where rail and bus users who make 10 journeys during a week with a Go Card can take any further trips for free.

For example, an Ipswich resident that makes a return train trip to work every from Monday to Friday can travel free on the weekend to any destination.

The move was spruiked by the State Government as a win for regular public transport users, and commuter groups also backed the changes.

But it is due to begin on January 2 next year, the same day public ticket prices rise by 15%.

Commuters who spoke to The Queensland Times yesterday said they'd prefer fare prices were kept lower instead of having the bonus journeys.

Bundamba resident Courtney Masters, 20, said the 15% increase in tickets each year until 2014 would scare people off regularly using public transport.

"At the moment, it already costs so much to travel," she said.

"It makes it hard to travel as much as you would like to on train.

"I know some people who don't use public transport already because it is getting so expensive."

Coalfalls resident Kathy Jago said she did not think many people would qualify for the bonus trips.

"I don't know if that's going to cover a lot of people," she said.

Robert Dow, from commuter lobby group Rail Back on Track, said while not everyone would be happy with the changes, it is now possible to reduce one's travel costs by being smart and using the incentives for maximum benefit.

His group have long campaigned for Go Card fare improvements and said they hope to see more down the track, but are happy with this bonus journey initiative.

"Full time university students, "learner earners", do multiple daily journeys as a rule," Mr Dow said.

"The free fares after 10 journeys in the week will be of significant benefit to them. An outcome we are grateful for."

But he said it won't be just students who could gain benefit from the bonus trips.

"We believe this is not the 'end of the line' with respect to Go Card fare enhancements," he said.

"Not all will be happy with these initial changes, but as we have suggested it is now possible to reduce one's travel costs."

He said it is important that users understand a journey is a travel leg on a Go Card that is separated by an hour break.

A journey can actually consist of multiple trips if transfers are achieved within an hour.

A TransLink spokesman said the incentive was a cheaper alternative to the traditional weekly paper ticket and rewarded those who take more than 10 trips in a week.

"More than 135,000 customers already take eight or more trips a week and could benefit from the 10-and-free incentive," he said in a statement.

He said their planned fare increases in the coming years will be invested in improving public transport throughout south-east Queensland.

"The fare increase on January 2 will let us roll out an extra 310,000 seats in 2011/12," the spokesman said.

 

TRIP FACTS

  • Under the changes, if you travel to and from work using a Go Card during the week, you get free weekend travel.
  • Off-peak discount for Go Card will increase from 15% to 20% on all journeys between 9am and 3.30pm, after 7pm, and on weekends and public holidays.


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