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Geelong Branch Media Release

05/05/2003

State Government can’t be bothered with Geelong Fare Reform

The Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association today announced that the State Government had rejected its proposal for fare reform, despite saying that better integration of fares and ticketing was "commendable."

The Geelong Branch had sent a copy of its Geelong Fare Reform Discussion Paper to local State Government MPs and the Minister for Transport, asking for their response to the paper. The paper called on the State Government to reduce fare prices and introduce integrated fares between Geelong and Melbourne.

Spokesman Tim Petersen said the proposal aimed to correct the inequitable fare system which sees Geelong train users paying 75% more for a ticket to Melbourne than train users travelling a similar distance from Melbourne's outer south-eastern suburbs. He said it also aimed to relieve Geelong train travellers of the need to buy extra tickets to travel on Geelong buses and the rest of Melbourne's public transport (apart from the City Loop.)

In his reply to the discussion paper (dated 18/4/03), the Transport Minister's Chief of Staff, Lachlan McDonald, wrote that:

"Better integration of fares and ticketing between the Geelong Transit System, V/Line and Metcard is commendable. However… [this] initiative could only be contemplated in the context of both replacing the current ticketing system and of the current budget position."

However Mr Petersen said that the Geelong branch proposal required only minor software changes to V/Line's ticketing system, and did not require the replacement of the Melbourne's Metcard system. "V/Line passengers currently use City Loop trains by simply showing their tickets to station attendants- and this could be easily extended to other trains, trams and buses." He said it seemed the real reason behind the rejection was simply that the government didn't want to spend the estimated $1.5m a year required for the fare cut.

"It is extremely disappointing that a government that says it wants to increase the use of public transport, can commit $190m on half a ring road around Geelong, but can't spend $1.5m a year on making public transport fares competitive with the costs of driving."

Mr Petersen said the Geelong branch would continue to campaign for fare reform.

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898


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Last Modified: 5 May 2003