Outer zones need cheaper travel, says transport user group
Parking problems at railway stations on zone boundaries would be reduced by more competitive fares, the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) said today.
“As soon as passengers cross a zone boundary, fares skyrocket,” said PTUA Treasurer Kerryn Wilmot. “It’s no wonder people drive to stations like Brighton Beach and park where-ever they can. Residents near zone boundaries are suffering because zone 2 and 3 fares are too expensive.”
“The zone system is simple to use and understand, and free transfers between services are crucial to an effective public transport network,” said Ms Wilmot. “The problem is simply that fares are too high.”
According the investigations by the PTUA, Melbourne public transport fares have risen faster since 1999 than fares in all other Australian capitals. A daily ticket for Zones 1 and 2 is now 60% more expensive than a Zone 1 ticket, while a ticket for Zones 1, 2 and 3 is an additional 30% more expensive than the Zone 1+2 ticket.
“Public transport users do not feel they are getting value for money, particularly people outside zone 1,” said Ms Wilmot. “Passengers would be more inclined to travel from zone 2 and 3 stations closer to home if the fare increment wasn’t so steep for the additional zone.”
As well as causing parking problems near stations on zone boundaries, passengers that bypass stations closer to home create additional traffic on the roads. We hear of people that drive their cars further to get to zone 1 than the length of their eventual train journey,” said Ms Wilmot. “This adds to peak hour traffic, it wastes time and petrol, and forces people to own a car that they might not really need.”
With a state election only weeks away, the PTUA has called on all political parties to offer more competitive fares. “We’d like to see lower increments for additional zones, cheaper off-peak fares to encourage commuters to shift travel from peak times and encourage more people out of their cars, and better availability of deals such as Sunday Saver and Group Traveller,” outlined Ms Wilmot.
Ms Wilmot warned that Melbourne’s liveability depended on an attractive and affordable public transport system. “Whether it’s local parking issues, or congestion and air pollution, our quality of life depends upon encouraging people out of their cars as soon as possible,” concluded Ms Wilmot.