Would you support flat rate public transport?

Hey folks. I currently live in Sherwood, Brisbane. Three train stations further and you're in Darra which I believe is end of Brisbane City Council region but just walking along the street, you wouldn't know this, it's still just "suburbia". But on the train, you're now in a different zone and it's more expensive. But the real kicker is that the train only goes half as often.

It's the same thing re: the bus. The further out you get from the city, the more expensive the bus is and the crappier a service you get.

Maybe I'm generalising here but I'm sure there's a correlation between distance to the city and income.

Seems to me, if you're rich and live in the inner suburbs you get really good cheap(er) public transport but if you live out the sticks,you can wait an hour for your bus and pay for the privilege.

So, would you support flat rate ticketing?

Poll Options

  • 0
    Yes, even though would be more expensive for me.
  • 1
    Yes, my tickets will be cheaper.
  • 3
    Yes, but I don't get public transport at all.
  • 0
    No, and I don't get public transport.
  • 16
    No, it would make my tickets more expensive.
  • 3
    No, even though it would be cheaper for me.


  • +1 vote

    I'm in ACT, were only small and have shocking public transport if you're not on a main bus route.

    They are about to create the first stage of light rail here (a 7km long stretch) at the cost of $1b. IMO the money would have been much better spent on upgrading the bus routes through the whole of ACT and making them free to use. They have been trying for a long time to get public transport numbers up and I think that would provide a much better platform to build upon.


      We currently have flat-rate prices in Canberra. Get on at the back of Belco or one stop from Civic, same ticket price, with a free 90-minute transfer. If I'm quick I can get into civic, buy something, and get back on the bus for 1 ticket price.

      I picked where I live based on the public transport (I live right near a blue rapid stop, and I work near one too), but if you live outside of the city centres (Gungahlin, Woden, Civic, Belco) it can be impossible.


        Flat rate prices is good, but with how much the government is pushing and pushing for an increase in people to pick up public transport i think its the ideal solution. I dont have a myway card, but this could be just the way to lure people like me into catching transport - and additionally people who only do it every now and then. Its $4.80 for a single each way (with cash) or $3 on myway (i think?).. so still $6 if i want to catch a bus to work each way.

        From what i can see from my quick google, in 2012/13 the income from ACTION buses from fares was approx 23m and in 15/16 was estimated to be approx 27m.
        source: http://www.treasury.act.gov.au/budget/budget_2012/files/budg...

        Thats pocket change compared to light rail and would increase public transport use ACT wide compared to one small corridor.


          You don't have a myway card? Um, well, yes the cash fees are expensive. But parking where I worked was >$10/day, so $6 is a good deal.

          I hope that with light rail servicing the high-traffic main corridors, they push more buses out into the smaller suburbs.


    The prices for public transport are a joke. If they want to reduce the number of cars on the road paying ridiculous fees and then paying a fee to park your car at the station is not going to help….

    Obviously the further you live away from the city the more you rely on public transportation so they can sting you with higher fees.

    When it is cheaper to drive you and your partner into the city and park your car than it is for 2 people to catch public transport you know the system is a joke.


    What about a "no, and this probably wouldn't affect my cost" option?

    Melbourne removed zone 3 many years ago and then only a couple of years ago removed a more expensive fare for users travelling from zone 1-2 (that is, the original zone 1 fare is now a zone 1-2 fare, but zone 2 on its own is actually cheaper)

    So as someone in zone 1, this didn't increase or reduce my fare.

    I think there's a lot to be said for working near your home. Obviously some circumstances this isn't possible, but in many it is.

    Decentralisation of jobs will also help.

    And then there is the notion of taxing vehicles (especially vehicles with only one person), and using this money to provide better PT services.


    Its kind of catch 22. If you're in the stix, then the assumption is that public transport will be poor because of low usage (people usually drive). The flip side is that more people driving means public transport out there will only get worse.


    Here in Adelaide we have flat rate public transport. Someone living 5kms out of the city will pay exactly the same as someone living 20kms out. So it doesnt matter where you live.


    I believe not in "user pays", but "benefitor pays".
    Who benefits in our society by someone ("the user") choosing to use public transport versus private vehichle?

    The user benefits because they:
    * reduce their risk of damage to their vehicle
    * reduce their reliance on their private vehicle, increasing the chance of re-use, and hence possibly leading to less vehicles being required (a massive cost saving)
    * reduce the costs of maintenance to their vehicle (services via km travelled, depreciation at resale)
    * reduce the costs of consumables to their vehicle (petrol, tyres, parking)
    * possibly reduce their travel time due to T2 lanes, traffic avoidance
    * reduce travel stress (arguable) due to no need to pilot the vehicle

    The user offsets these benefits with:
    * reduced travel flexibiity due to fixed routes and fixed schedules
    * travel stress from sharing a resource with the general public and all their ranges of socially acceptable behaviours
    * often longer door to door travel times due to schedules, need to travel to pick up points etc.

    The people who live in the general area of travel benefit from the user choosing public transport as:
    * fewer cars on the road reduces traffic for all
    ** think tradies, delivery drivers,
    ** emergency services especially
    ** people to whom public transport is not an option
    * fewer cars improves air quality
    * fewer cars stops our rediculous pursuit of less traffic via more roads, wasting land and wasting money reclaiming, building and maintaining more and wider roads.
    * fewer cards means fewer accidents and
    ** loss of productivity from same
    ** less emergency department workload

    The people who live in the general area of travel offset this with the downsides of:
    * Nothing that I can think of?
    ** Noise polution of trains and buses, but relative to the traffic noise of equivalent private cars?

    Right now the main public transport systems are subsidised by taxes (so a form of payment to offset the benefits from the second group) and by fares from the users (to offset the extra benefit of being a user and a local resident to some part of the travel).
    Millions of dollars is spent in collecting and enforcing the end user payment.
    We have things like Opal card running, and zone discussions like this.

    IMHO, I would just do away with the the user paying anything, and make it free to use.
    I would thus undo the privatisation of our bus system where it has been privatised.
    I would subsidise it all via local goverment rates (i.e. taxation), based on reasonable occupation rates, which is thus passed on to renters and travellers alike and relatively equitably.

    Most systems support public transport for the majority of cost this way anyway IIRC.

    I would decommission all the ticket windows, vending machines and gates.
    All staff now are dedicated to customer satisfaction and customer safety.

    I would simply use door (bus/tram) and station (train) downward facing cameras to do loosely accurate route metrics to tune schedules and routing.
    Machine learning and enough data will be good enough.

    The only issue I need to solve is some legislation and policing to stop public transport becoming a defacto backpacker hostel or homeless shelter.
    Perhaps the millions saved in printing tickets or running smart card systems can instead go towards more low cost and emergency housing?
    Perhaps the transport officers and other staff, who now ride the trains helping people, can keep an eye out for people abusing the privilege, and give them an enforceable "you have been observed using PT for more than four hours straight, you are hereby banned from PT for eight hours, starting in one hour" sort of directive?

    Anyway, this is the only downside I can see so far….


      Vote 1 - Long Haired Git
      Seriously, sounds like you're at a podium …

      Problem with free public transport is increasing taxes, by making it a local government thing (assuming you mean state, not counsel) is that they're already operating on a very tight budget as the federal government claims the bulk of the taxes while providing minimal services (other than allocating funds to state governments) …

      Sure, it'd be a nice re-balancing as those that catch public transport are usually poorer, but would you tax people who earn over a certain amount an additional tax, or would you find savings by cutting other government services?

      The problems with free public transport:
      - you have more usage which means more crowding
      - not a revenue generating department means things wont get upgraded
      - free service means no identity checking which means less culpability and more damages
      - people could start catching public transport for entertainment
      - bus drivers will probably cop more abuse
      - multi million dollar payouts to the private companies that already have contracts with state governments


    Flat rate ticketing won't necessarily make everyone happy.

    Melbourne is effectively flat rate. It costs the same to take the train 100km from one end of the city to the other as it does to take the train or tram or bus just for just one stop (Zone 1 anyway). I am sure those who travel the short distances feel ripped off compared to those who travel the long distances.

  • +1 vote

    Closer to CBD should be more expensive (relatively) as you are paying for the convenience and public transport is quite useful within inner rings.

    Further out you go, there should be incentives to not drive into the city.

    I drive 99% of the time btw.

    Just my opinion. I'm sure there's something the powers that be could work out.