Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Newcastle, NSW, two bus routes now fare-free

Inner-city “fare-free” beneficiaries (lucky travellers) now enjoy free travel from city to the fishermen’s co-op in Hannell St. (7:30am to 6pm) on bus routes 106 and 107. A “fantastic way to get around the inner city” said Minister for the Hunter and Member for Newcastle Jodi McKay, confiding the idea for the extension began in conversation with a local constituent. All good, no complaint, except … there’s a few hundred thousand other constituents with similar sentiments? Transports economists are known to advocate free public transport carte blanche and cite as powerful disincentives to train travel the complex ticketing and policing of fares, and float assertions unsettling to even pink governments that the cost of collecting fares exceeds revenue.
Throsby, for one, would seriously entertain either train or bus (he has a choice) on his commute from suburbia to urbia. It’s the hassle over fares (uncertainties born of unfamiliarity) that place the first barrier in his head. Why are fares retained? Even if generating net revenue, how full would trains and buses be if free? There’s only one way to find out. Gummint has a unwavering eye on transport privatisation, posit some. Private vehicle tollways are a growth industry, due in part to surveillance-age technology enabling investors to remotely pilfer citizens’ pockets, where once there we enjoyed unencumbered free passage. If corporations so effectively tax “free range” travellers, what a delightful investment fixed transport infrastructure will seem when a litre of petrol is a luxury. newcastleonhunter

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