Daisy Aczel-Morris, 16, of Goonellabah is dependent on buses for travel.
Daisy Aczel-Morris, 16, of Goonellabah is dependent on buses for travel. Marc Stapelberg

Bus fares just got more expensive

BUS fares within regional towns could rise between 10 and 60 cents for a single ticket as of January 1 under the maximum fare increases set by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

The good news from the IPART determination is that maximum fares for bus trips between towns will fall on average by 8%.

Richmond River High School student Daisy Aczel-Morris, 16, of Goonellabah said relying on buses could be expensive.

"Because I'm a student the $2.60 is manageable, but compared to major metropolitan cities it seems pretty expensive," she said.

"I used to have a bus pass but I've lost it recently. So that makes it $5.20 (to Goonellabah) if I don't have a student card, which is way too much."

Northern Rivers Social Development Council transport development worker Kate Geary said transport in regional areas should be significantly cheaper.

"I think a lot of people don't have the money to pay the fares as they are, so it's not a matter of complaining about the size of the increase, what we want is to see a significant decrease," she said.

"I welcome the fact that they have lowered the fares for town-to-town travel because they have been particularly high, but I'm disappointed that the about-town services are going up by a maximum average of 2.4%."

Bus companies have the discretion to set lower fares than those stated in the IPART determination.

Ms Geary warned that fares in regional areas are still significantly higher than in metropolitan areas.

"They are twice as high or more in regional areas and people in the regions tend to face much more socio-economic disadvantages," she said.

"The risk is that people can become socially isolated if they don't have access to affordable transport and then their needs just don't get met."

 

FARE EXAMPLE

  • Lennox Head to Ballina $6.40 or $3.20 concession
  • Coraki to Lismore $9.80/$4.90
  • Kyogle to Lismore $16.20/$8.10


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