Responding to the NSW Liberal Premier’s announcement today on capping weekly opal fees, The Greens NSW have reminded the people of NSW that under the Greens plan to revitalise public transport there would be no need for arbitrary temporary weekly caps because every day would be fare free day.
In one of the Greens NSW key election policy pledges, all modes of public transport across NSW would be free, accessible, frequent and reliable, as well as publicly owned and operated. 100% free public transport could save the average commuter $2,400 each year, and revitalise our economy at the same time.
“In the midst of this cost-of-living crisis, we need to be thinking a lot bigger than temporary adjustments on fare caps,” Greens MP and spokesperson for Transport, Abigail Boyd said.
“People are fed up of the Liberal-National Coalition treating public transport as a political plaything, offering up minor and temporary tweaks to weekly caps and offering fare free days every time another part of the network fails under their watch. We deserve a public transport system that is world-class - reliable, accessible, frequent and free.
“Free Public Transport is not only achievable, it is essential for well-functioning communities and economies.
“The government already subsidises 80% of the cost of operating our public transport network, and on top of that we have expensive ticketing and compliance costs. Why not make it 100%, and deliver a free high quality service that the public deserves, and deliver real hip-pocket relief at a time when we’re all feeling the pinch?
“The Coalition government are once again showing how out of touch they are with the extent of the economic hardship being faced by households in NSW. The Greens plan for free public transport will put thousands of dollars back into people’s pockets – that’s the kind of cost-of-living relief that will make a real difference to people.
“Analysis released last month by Business NSW showed the 12-day fare free period in April 2022 delivered an 11% increase in public transport usage - reducing congestion and transport related emissions.
“Free Public Transport delivered a 35 per cent increase in spending across department stores, arts and entertainment venues as well as a 20 per cent increase at restaurants and cafes during last year’s fare-free period.
“Public transport is obviously important to get people to and from work, but it’s also used every day by people visiting friends, visiting parks, going to the sport or cultural activities like concerts and art galleries.
“For every single pro-social activity we try and encourage in our community, people need to leave their homes to participate - why would we be placing a financial barrier in the middle?
“It’s time we followed the lead of other cities around the world and delivered a public transport people run for people not profit,” Abigail said.
Free Public Transport: https://greens.org.au/nsw/freepublictransport2023