Public transport fares slashed to 50 cents per journey

Rachael Ward |

Queensland Labor will temporarily slash public transport fares, ahead of the October state election.
Queensland Labor will temporarily slash public transport fares, ahead of the October state election.

The price of public transport fares in Queensland will be slashed to 50 cents per journey for six months, ahead of the state election.

Reduced fares will be available on all Translink services anywhere in the state from August 5, however, it does not apply to privately-owned transport services.

The government hopes reduced train, bus and ferry fares will encourage more people to travel without their cars, with public transport usage about 13 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

A Translink train in Brisbane.
Premier Steven Miles says the six-month trial will cost $150 million. (Regi Varghese/AAP PHOTOS)

The 50-cent fares will apply to all commuters, meaning concession card holders who already have access to reduced ticket prices will see their fares further reduced.

The government claims reduced prices would also have a “disinflationary effect”.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles said the $150 million six-month trial would save commuters thousands of dollars in ticket fares, fuel and paid parking costs.

“Public transport usage has never returned to its pre-COVID levels and that’s one of the things contributing to congestion, particularly in the southeast,” Mr Miles told reporters in Mango Hill on Sunday.

“We’re hoping that this trial of 50-cent fares will give people a reason to rethink their habits.”

The next Queensland state election is due to be held on October 26 – almost 13 weeks after the new, temporary fares come into effect – and the Labor government is currently running behind the opposition in voter polls.

Mr Miles said if enough Queenslanders take up the opportunity for reduced fares then he would consider making the trial permanent and it would be a “good result” if services became crowded.

“This is use it or lose it,” Mr Miles said.

“If this is effective, if this reduces congestion and sees lots of people get back on public transport then obviously we’ll consider making it permanent.”

RACQ chief executive David Carter threw this support behind the trial and said he believed it would help boost public transport usage.

“We hope it allows us to set up something more permanent that will enable more people to use the public transport network around particularly the southeast and get congestion down while the infrastructure catches up,” he said.

It also has support from the Rail Tram and Bus Union in Queensland.

A spokesperson for the Liberal National Party said that while it supports more cost-of-living relief, Labor will do anything to be reelected.

“After nine years of Labor driving-up costs, Queenslanders see Labor will now do and say anything to cling to power, including announcing measures which expire just weeks after the election,” they said in a statement.

Greens MP Amy MacMahon claimed the government got the idea from her party and pushed for the trial to become permanent.

“At 50c per trip, it’ll be cheaper to just switch off the fare machines thanks to Labor’s expensive privatised ticketing system,” Ms MacMahon said.

However, Mr Miles ruled out making transport entirely free as the government still wanted people to touch on and off so it could collect data on journeys.s

AAP