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Commuters should carry a spare Go Card, make quick lunchtime trips and avoid paper tickets to trick the fare system and save money, say public transport advocates.
The advice was issued by the Rail Back on Track group on Wednesday in an attempt to “educate citizens” on the steps they could take to “minimise the impacts of savage fare increases”.
Spokesman Robert Dow said once the public realised how they could “extract massive amounts of free travel”, the government might take steps to alter the fare structure.
Public transport fares increased by 7.5 per cent this year, and will increase by that much in 2014 under the Newman Government.
However there are several concessions available and various new measures designed to mitigate costs, including extending the off-peak period and introducing free trips.
But Mr Dow said the price was still too high for some people, especially seniors and the unemployed.
“Unemployed people in Queensland do not have concessions as they do in every other state and territory of Australia,” he said.
“It is rather sad that the failure that is the fare system is allowed to continue, drive people off public transport and continue to worsen fare affordability.”
The solution was to encourage exploitation of the fare system, Mr Dow said.
He said people should begin by avoiding single journey paper tickets “at all costs” as they were more expensive than Go Cards.
But Mr Dow said savings could also be found through two bulk travel initiatives, including the nine-and-free weekly discount for Go Card users, and the One, Two, Free for seniors and pensioners scheme.
“Anyone on a regular Go Card who does the traditional commute to and from work can save a lot of money by doing a lunch time one stop bus journey - or rail journey - at lunch time,” he said.
“Once you complete nine paid journeys in a week - Monday to Sunday - your travel is free.
“By completing three paid journeys a day - to work, lunch time journey, to home - you will complete nine paid journeys when you complete your home journey on Wednesday.
“You travel free then on Thursday and Friday, and the weekend as desired - savings can be considerable, particularly if a high zone commute.”
Meanwhile, seniors and pensioners could maximise savings offered through the One, Two, Free scheme, Mr Dow said.
Under the initiative, holders of senior Go Cards, or green pensioner concession Go Cards, can travel free for the rest of the day if they make two paid journeys in one day.
“So one way of getting two paid journeys completed quickly for seniors is to have a normal seniors Go Card, and a secondary seniors Go Card,” he said.
“For those who are in inner suburbs it is a lot easier to get two paid journeys completed quickly by doing zoners - short journeys - on buses.
“However in middle and outer suburbia some innovation is needed.”
Mr Dow used the example of a senior travelling from Ipswich to put forward the following plan:
• Touch on at Ipswich and commence journey to Brisbane.
• At Darra, break journey and touch off.
• Then touch on with secondary Go Card.
• One paid journey is now complete on primary card.
• Continue journey to say Milton.
• Break journey and touch off with secondary Go Card.
• Touch back on with primary Go Card (even though time is less than one hour from previous touch off because zone difference greater than one, initiates a new journey), touch off at Roma St or Central and go and have a cup of coffee.
• Two paid journeys now complete on primary Go Card.
• Have a cup of coffee for an hour.
• Then you can travel to Gold Coast or wherever for the rest of the day for free.
“The two card trick is also useful for normal Go Card holders who wish to gain some extra paid journeys on the way the work,” Mr Dow said.
“Do your sums.”
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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