Fare hikes to improve transport: Qld govt

Funds gained through fare hikes will go directly back into public transport, Acting Queensland Premier Andrew Fraser says.

Fares on southeast Queensland’s buses, trains and ferries increased by 15 per cent from Monday.

But the changes also include free travel for Go Card users after they’ve taken their tenth trip in a week, and cheaper off-peak fares.

“Every time someone pays a dollar when they hop on a bus or train, the taxpayer pays another $3 to help subsidise that trip,” Mr Fraser told reporters in Brisbane’s north on Monday.

“All this money goes directly back into public transport and 140,000 new seats are coming online over the next year.”

Opposition transport spokesman Scott Emerson said commuters returning to work on Tuesday would face among the highest transport fares in the world.

“Brisbane is now the third most expensive city in the world for public transport,” he said.

But Mr Fraser said Brisbane’s fares were in line with Sydney and Melbourne.

“I also note that they’re putting up fares today as well,” he said.

Brisbane City Council (BCC) deputy mayor Adrian Schrinner said people were already turning away from public transport, which was “becoming unaffordable”.

Council figures show that between July and November last year 11.8 per cent fewer passengers caught a ferry and bus patronage fell by 290,000 compared to the same time the year before.

But Mr Fraser said Go Card data showed public transport patronage had increased.

He said BCC needed to show how it was going to fund its own transport commitments.

“It’s really easy to go and buy 700 extra buses if the state government gives you the money to buy those buses.”

The Liberal National Party opposition has pledged to give a free Go Card trip after every ninth journey, but has declined to outline how it would fund the move.

Another 15 per cent hike is due this time next year.

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