AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Queensland Government announces rail fare review

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Brisbane train passengers could soon be paying less for their ticket to ride. </span> <p>Queensland’s Newman government says it has begun work to improve public transport fares for south east Queensland passengers in an effort to get more Brisbanites on the city’s rail network.</p><p>“This government is committed to delivering better cost of living for Queensland families and passengers,” state minister for transport and main roads Scott Emerson said.</p><p>That commitment is to be reflected through a six-month action plan aimed at developing a new fare structure, according to Emerson, who said Queensland’s public transport advisory board had been asked to provide submissions on the future fare path.</p><p>To overhaul the fare system, the government hopes to reinvest savings earned through staff cuts at the rail operator, Queensland Rail.</p><p>In July last year the government ordered QR to reduce the number of its corporate staff following a review of the government-owned operator which said it had a “bloated executive.” Last month, QR started negotiation on a new business model to consolidate services within its offices.</p><p>“Future negotiation of its enterprise agreements is a matter for Queensland Rail,” Emerson said, “however as Queenslanders would expect, they will be seeking efficiencies.”</p><p>Industry body Rail Skills Australia (RSA) has welcomed the government’s plans.</p><p>“It is simply untenable to expect the public to pay more than they have to,” said the body’s chief executive, Paul Daly. “A full review will most certainly provide higher workforce efficiencies and enable these issues to be addressed.”</p><p>Emerson said the government had delivered on its pre-election promise of halving Labor’s planned 15% increases for 2013 and 2014 and committed $200m over four years to deliver fare relief for commuters.</p><p>South east Queensland public transport fares increased by 7.5% on January 7 this year.</p><p>Nonetheless, there has been community outcry over the weight of the fares. One petition calling for a review of the fares logged over 1100 signatures.</p><p>Train patronage has also declined in the past four years in the sunshine state.</p><p>In the 2008-09 financial year, 60.9 million trips were taken on the network. That dropped to 57.6 million in 2009-10 (down 5.4%), and 2010-11 saw a further drop to 55m trips (down 4.5%).</p><p>In 2011-12 the number of trips taken dropped again, down 4% to just 52.8 million, which is around 10 million fewer trips than travelled on the Perth rail network over the same timespan, despite the fact that Queensland’s public transport patronage of 178 million is significantly higher than Perth’s patronage.</p>