Brisbane transport: Fairer Fares package rolls out to commuters ahead of schedule
Passengers were on board for the government’s new Fairer Fares package on Monday, with more than 105,000 Go Card trips made across the network.
Acting Premier Curtis Pitt said the new fare structure was successfully introduced on Monday.
“Interestingly enough, we’ve had some people querying, not that they’re being charged too much, but that they may be getting charged too little,” Mr Pitt said.
“That’s obviously a great outcome if we’re seeing people already seeing the benefits of cheaper fares.”
The Fairer Fares package includes slashing travel zones from 23 to eight, extending the off-peak discount and replacing the nine-and-free deal with a new model.
Instead of free travel after nine journeys, people who travel eight journeys will receive 50 per cent off subsequent journeys per week.
During Monday morning’s peak, there were more than 105,000 Go Card trips, 51,576 visits to the TransLink web page, 21,208 journeys calculated on TransLink’s online journey planner, 100 customer liaison officers on the network and 1477 social media mentions.
Mr Hinchliffe said introducing the new fare structure required a significant technical update to TransLink’s ticketing system.
“A large, co-ordinated software update of the entire TransLink ticketing system was progressively rolled out over the weekend for this morning’s go live,” he said.
“TransLink partnered with its technical provider to install new software to all 13,500 Go Card and ticket devices across south-east Queensland.”
Mr Hinchliffe has previously said the plan would deliver “cost of living relief to at least 93 per cent of commuters”.
But some customers, including those who regularly take advantage of the nine-and-free scheme, will pay more.
A spokesman for Mr Hinchliffe said under the new initiative about 3 per cent of passengers may experience a “modest fare increase” including an increase of about a cent for a small number of concession and off-peak journeys and a possible increase of 10 per cent on paper tickets.
“Go Card data shows in a typical week around 15 per cent of Go Card users currently make enough journeys to benefit from nine and free,” the spokesman said.
“The introduction of eight-plus-50 per cent fares will mean about 4 per cent of commuters will see no change or a small decrease in the cost of their weekly commute when the decrease in fares across the entire network is considered.”
The spokesman said the Fairer Fares package would mean an average saving of $1196 per year for a commuter travelling between Robina and the Brisbane CBD.
Robert Dow of commuter advocate group Rail Back on Track said a small percentage of people would pay more but most would save money.
“There’s a couple of per cent of people who are high-journey users … who have been getting a pretty good deal,” Mr Dow said.
“When they did the nine paid journeys they were travelling for free … It made it pretty unfair to people who were not in a situation to do that.
“The amount of money that was being lost to the system was unsustainable.”
Mr Dow said with the reduction of fares and a 50 per cent discount after eight paid journeys, most people were better off.
Meanwhile, a new Queensland Rail summer timetable will be released on Wednesday on the TransLink website.
The Queensland Rail summer timetable – to be rolled out from December 28 to January 22 – will slash 11 per cent of services at a time when 25 per cent fewer commuters were expected to use the network.
The spokesman said the summer timetable’s cuts to train timetables would mostly be outside of peak periods.
“Scheduling peak services every 15 minutes is expected to meet reduced passenger demand during the holiday period,” he said.
“The summer school holiday train timetable coincides with most students returning to school on January 23.”
Mr Dow called for fare prices to be reduced to off peak prices for the summer timetable due to the reduction in services.