April 23, 2013

Government Decision to Hurt Regional Rail and Bus Users

The recent decision of the Napthine Government to scrap short term occasional use tickets for train and busservices will be a source of distress to many occasional public transport users according to Ballarat East MP Geoff Howard.

Mr Howard said that many occasional users were people from regional Victoria who may choose to take the train to Melbourne only once or twice a year.

 “Next time when they travel they will be advised that they can only travel if they have a Myki at a cost of $6 for a full fare or $3 for concession or senior, with money having to then be additionally put on the Myki account to ensure the travel cost will be covered.

 For a family taking the occasional day out to Melbourne, leaving the car at home this means a Myki for each member of the family all topped up with enough money to cover each traveller’s costs,” Mr Howard added.

 If a MYKI card is not then used for a period greater than 90 days it is suspended, meaning additional money then needs to be put on the card to have it reactivated.

 The decision by the Napthine government to scrap the short term occasional use tickets sees $15 million worth of tickets already printed being pulped and occasional users forced to purchase a Myki before they can travel or reactivate a card not used for more than 90 days.

 “This will present a source of frustration to occasional users and I fear that many will simply decide that it’s not worth it and they either won’t make that rail trip at all or they will take the car instead.”

 “We should be doing all we can to encourage people to see the benefits of using public transport. It can assist older people who no longer drive to continue to be mobile and it will also help younger travellers see that there are great alternatives to taking the car for
many trips,” he said.

“Retaining the occasional use ticketing system would have assisted with this. Instead this Napthine government decision will make it harder for occasional public transport users many of whom come from our region,” said Mr Howard.