Free trips not costing us: Qld government

THE Queensland government insists record numbers of people taking free trips on public transport under a new scheme are not eating into the budget.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson says 75,000 people claimed free trips last week under the Newman government’s public transport incentive scheme.

People who use their Go Card to pay for nine bus, train or ferry journeys from any Monday can travel free until the following Monday.

The state government has been criticised for giving away free trips at a time when it’s ruthlessly cutting costs elsewhere.

Mr Emerson estimates the scheme will cost $18 million over the first two years but says the extra passengers aren’t costing the government any more.

“We believe these passengers wouldn’t be travelling in any case in the past because they felt that public transport wasn’t affordable,” he told ABC Radio.

He says the offer will continue for the first term of the Newman government as part of a plan to tackle the former Labor government’s “low affordability in public transport”.

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