The entire fare structure and premise behind it is wrong, even for regular commuters.
In discussions with local MPs and journalists over the years for not only the disgraceful fare structure, but also the 5-year price hike plan, nothing outraged me more than the then Transport Minister's response to me noting that the fares were set primarily to fund future infrastructure - which may or may not ever eventuate, and which may not ever be utilised by me. That was the supposed justification for my 60% fare increase the last 3 years.
The issue I have is that the fares are NOT based on value for money for a trip from A to B. Hence why we are in the top 3 most expensive public transport systems in the world, where, in many cases, it is cheaper to drive than to use public transport.
In no other industry or business, do you get charged for a service or facilities that may or may not ever be implemented.
Why would I take my family from the Gold Coast to Brisbane by train on a weekend, when the cost of petrol and parking, along with the convenience and comfort of the same, is half that of public transport ? The back of my house overlooks the train lines - the 6-car trains are largely empty all weekend. No-one uses them for the cost.
I've argued with the previous Government, and emphasised to the media, that if a journey from A to B was value for money, more people would utilise public transport.
Being a regular commuter, my colleagues and I all utilise the short trips on a Mon & Tue, allowing me to save around $60 p/w, having free trips from Tue evening for the rest of the week. I have no remorse. And I disagree entirely that I am causing a "drain", causing hardship for others. For the simple fact that where I previously commuted for some 12 years, for the SAME distance, the weekly cost of a ticket, purchased on a periodical basis, is around $65 p/w, which is what I am paying now using the benefit of the short trips.
Interestingly, the fare increases on that commute have increased $1 p/w, annually for the last 15 years, from $40 p/w to now around $65 p/w (taken from the train service web-site, including historical data). My commute cost here, for the SAME distance, is almost $120 p/w. Value for money ? No...especially considering a rise of $45 p/w in the last 3 years, from $75 p/w to now almost $120 p/w. All this with no extra services, but additional stops, which increases congestion on board.
I don't agree with the petition - but agree the ENTIRE fare structure needs overhaul, not just some parts. Periodical fare structures must be introduced. Regular commuters should receive some benefit of daily patronage without having to stuff around with short trips. We should be able to purchase "x weeks of travel", for which unlimited travel is allowed within specified zones, as per other states.
And two more years of 5%-10% fares rises are yet to come, as we're only in year 3 of the 5 year plan. If nothing is done soon, public transport here will go the way of the monorail in Sydney !!!
This fare structure cannot continue in its current form.