WA lauds free transport scheme

By Rob O'Brien

Seniors, aged and disability pensioners have taken almost seven million trips on public transport in the first year of a free transport scheme in Western Australia.

Seniors taking advantage of the State Government’s initiative and using public transport regularly could also be saving between $350 and $600 a year.

“As people get older it is important they maintain an active lifestyle. Seeing so many people are taking advantage of free public transport gives a strong indication many seniors and pensioners are doing just that,” Volunteering Minister Robyn McSweeney said.

“Free public transport for seniors also represents a social good, by which the state is repaying Western Australians who have paid their taxes and contributed so much to the State for so long.”

According to the State Government around 4.7 million free off-peak bus trips were taken in the past 12 months; with 2.3 million free off-peak train and ferry trips.

An average of 12,000 customers took an average of 24,000 free weekday trips per day in March 2010 alone.

Transport Minister Simon O’Brien said anecdotal evidence indicated the introduction of free travel had also resulted in the shifting of a significant number of concession bus and train travellers out of the peak time slots.

“80.2 per cent of all public transport trips made by seniors or pensioners are now taken in the off-peak times,” he said.

“It is clear this innovative and sound policy has resulted in a win for seniors, who get free off-peak travel and for other metropolitan commuters who, as a result of the schemes success, now have access to a less congested public transport system in peak periods,” he said.

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