Free travel scheme a huge success
Seniors, aged and disability pensioners have taken almost seven million free trips on public transport in the first year of the Liberal-National Government’s free transport scheme.
Transport Minister Simon O’Brien and Seniors and Volunteering Minister Robyn McSweeney today said the resounding success of the 2008 Liberal election promise, was a clear demonstration of the State Government’s commitment to ensuring seniors and pensioners maintain active, fulfilling lives.
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,” Mrs 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.”
Mr O’Brien said free bus travel far and away represented the transport mode most favoured by seniors and aged and disability pensioners.
“Around 4.7 million free off-peak bus trips have been taken in the past 12 months; while collectively there were 2.3 million free off-peak train and ferry trips taken,” he said.
“Weekdays were the most popular for eligible seniors and pensioners to take up the offer of free travel, with an average of 12,000 customers taking an average of 24,000 free weekday trips per day in March 2010 alone.
Mr O’Brien said anecdotal evidence strongly 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, releasing extra capacity for general commuters.
“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.