Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get up early to ride free? Forget it - TheAge

Clay Lucas
Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

THE Early Bird ticket, hailed by Premier John Brumby as a solution to overcrowding on morning trains, is failing dismally to attract commuters.

The ticket was aimed to tempt commuters out of bed earlier, offering free travel for trips finishing before 7am.

It was launched by Mr Brumby and Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky in March, after a six-month trial on the Frankston and Sydenham lines.

"I'm very confident it will be very well received," Mr Brumby said then.

But the Department of Transport's annual report — one of more than 200 annual reports released by the Government last Thursday — shows just 2700 travellers a day using the ticket on Melbourne's 15 train lines.

And of those, 700 already caught pre-7am trains before the March launch.

The scheme, costed by Mr Brumby in March at "between $5 million and $10 million" has blown out to $12 million in two years. This includes reimbursing Connex for lost ticket revenue.

Before trials began, the Government said 600 passengers a day needed to use the ticket on the Frankston line for it to be considered a success.

Only 232 used the ticket, their analysis showed.

The ticket fared even worse in the Sydenham line trial: just 168 passengers a day opted to travel before 7am.

Despite this, the Government pressed ahead, to show it was taking "action" to relieve overcrowding.

The Public Transport Users Association said the new figures showed the scheme had achieved little. "Morning peak-hour trains are as crowded as ever. Free rides don't substitute for providing adequate peak-hour services," president Daniel Bowen said.

Connex data released last week showed overcrowding on Melbourne's morning trains at its worst. Scores of morning rush-hour trains carry 1000 passengers — well above the 798-person recommended limit...

Read the rest of this article at TheAge.com.au


Anonymous said...

Good luck - I a an ex Kensington resident who loved holland Park - it is however doomed as you live in a far to safe ALP seat.carlo carli is impotent, he wil not contest the next election and Pike is already looking fo ra new seat.

Anonymous said...

Don't be so sure how 'safe' the seat is. Bronwyn Pike (and the ALP) is very, very worried... as well she should be.