Melbourne’s transport fares the highest – study

A study of public transport fares around Australia has shown that for most trips, Melbourne’s fares are the highest of any of Australia’s mainland capital cities.

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) surveyed fares in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra, and compared them with the fares to come into effect in Melbourne in June. The survey showed that with a few exceptions[1], Melbourne’s fares outstripped those in the other cities.[2]

PTUA president Daniel Bowen said that while there had been increases in public transport usage in Melbourne in the last two years, a growing city meant market share was almost the same as it had been five years ago[3], and cost was an important factor. “Even with petrol prices rising again, for many trips, public transport is not cost-competitive, particularly for people who already have a car sitting in the garage”, said Mr Bowen.

“And high fares hit workers on low incomes, many of whom have to travel long distances from the outer suburbs to reach employment.”

Mr Bowen said the PTUA believed that zone 1 fares should be brought down in cost to be equal to zone 2 fares and the cost of zone 1+2 tickets should be no more than 50% higher than the cost of a single zone ticket. And the zone boundary overlap should be made bigger to ensure that relatively short trips such as Camberwell to Box Hill aren’t two zones.

“For public transport to win more people out of cars, it must be reliable, clean, safe, fast and cheap. Melbourne’s fares have kept going up each year — by over 25% in the last five years[4] — and are the most expensive in Australia for most trips. With our packed trains, slow trams and infrequent buses, fares should be coming down, not going up”, concluded Mr Bowen.


[1] Melbourne’s fares were most expensive for most trips, with the exception of short trips that are more expensive under Adelaide’s flat-fare system, and very long Melbourne suburban trips recently made cheaper by the removal of zone 3,

[2] The study compared single tickets, return/daily, off-peak return (which is not available in Melbourne for zone 1-only trips, but is provided by most other cities), and weekly or ten trip tickets. Full details are available at www.ptua.org.au/melbourne/fare-comparison

[3] Budget papers released 1/5/2007 show public transport mode share at 8.8% of motorised trips for 2005-2006, down from 9% in 2000.

[4] In 2002 a 2 hour zone 1 cost $2.60. From June 2007, this will cost $3.30, an increase of 27% in 5 years.


Contact the PTUA

See also: The Age 29/5/2007: City’s public transport fares poorly in national study