Many Australians use public transport every day, enjoying its many benefits. In fact, public transport in Australian cities is one of the most affordable in the whole world. Compared to the international standards regarding the fares of public transport, Australians pay decent amounts of money for quality services.
Moreover, transport operators also used to encourage this type of transport, by offering multiple travel bonuses for buses, trains, and trams. Some of them even offer free journeys for those who have to commute many times a day.
One of the benefits provided by transport operators in some areas, such as Melbourne, is free travelling before 7 AM for the people who need to commute often. In other areas, people who use Go cards can pay less if they choose off-peak rail travel. Another advantage is that they pay nine journeys, and the 10th one is free. Myki Money users from Melbourne can travel during the weekend as much as they wish, with no more than $6 per day. Smart Rider users benefit from discounts by using Autoload to top up their cards.
But all these benefits may come to an end, because of a proposal of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal. IPART claims that these free trips are not rewarding the ones who travel a longer distance, but those who travel more often – so this type of rewarding should be eliminated.
Bad News for Public Transport Customers in NSW
Another recommendation made by IPART is, in New South Wales, to raise the Opal fares for senior citizens.
But one of the most intriguing proposals that IPART makes in its report is to introduce multi-mode fares, which means that you will be charged extra if you choose to commute. If you don’t have the possibility of choosing a direct route, which is, in fact, the reason for commuting, you are obliged to pay more.
There have already been strong reactions to the report presented by IPART. Many people, including politicians, declared that these types of suggestions are concerning. People who must commute every day in order to get to work should not be punished because they use public transport. One of the most blamed recommendations was the one regarding senior citizens, a suggestion that seems quite inhuman.
On the other hand, people are concerned about the effects of these recommendations. All the benefits have been introduced in order to encourage use of public transportation. If people have to pay more for a journey or if they are required to pay every time they commute, many of them will give up on public transport and switch to personal cars, which will lead to increasingly more traffic jams.