Mayor wants something back for train fare price hike

PASSENGERS on the Warrnambool to Melbourne line will pay more from January 1, when a normal return fare will cost $62 after a statewide 6.8 per cent average jump in public transport fares.

A new off-peak return ticket will be $3.80 more than the current $58.20, while a weekly full fare will be $221.60 (now $207.40).

All fares from Warrnambool are charged at off-peak rates because the earliest service arrives in Melbourne after 9am. Only weekend concession tickets attract peak rates.

Polwarth MP and Transport Minister Terry Mulder blamed the previous Labor government for instigating the  rises, but Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh said it was time fare revenue was spent on better and more reliable trains.

“It’s a bit rich raising the fares when we haven’t had an upgrade to our service for years,” Cr Neoh said.

“Where’s the money going, where’s it being spent? 

“The excuses are getting a bit lame. We’ve had work on the track and a promised passing loop, but in terms of passenger comfort we haven’t had renewal.”

Mr Mulder boasted the government had delivered more than 1000 new services, new trains, improved reliability, and a record $270 million maintenance program. He said more metro trains and the first of the new Bombardier low-floor trams would be delivered next year.

However, there is no indication of new rolling stock for the Warrnambool-Melbourne service.

Cr Neoh pointed to ageing carriages and unreliable locomotives, highlighted by a five-hour breakdown near Camperdown last month.

“Perhaps the government should be subsidising regional fares, given we don’t have the frequency of metropolitan lines,” he said.

Bus travel will also be dearer with  a full-fare single-zone ticket in Warrnambool, Colac, Hamilton and Portland to cost $2.20 for two hours and a monthly ticket $85.40.

Student passes for unlimited travel on buses in Warrnambool will cost $252.50 a year, while in Portland and Colac they will cost $380.

On metropolitan lines the daily myki full-fare cap will rise between 32 and 76 cents with the jump in two-hour fares ranging from 16 to 38 cents. Discounts for seniors, concession card holders, tertiary and school students and children will continue.

“Labor left behind fare increases and a public transport system that was failing Victorians,” Mr Mulder said.

“The good news is that the Victorian Coalition government is delivering improvements to fix the public transport network. The fictional nonsense of Labor’s Fiona Richardson claiming that their fare rises could fund a multi-billion-dollar fantasy plan is farcical and an insult to public transport users.”

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