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Victorian public transport fares will jump by an average of 8.6 per cent on New Year's Day, in the biggest one-off impost on commuters in nearly a decade.
VICTORIAN public transport fares will jump by an average of 8.6 per cent on New Year's Day, in the biggest one-off impost on commuters in nearly a decade.
The price rises - for trains, trams and buses - will in most cases be more than twice the current rate of inflation.
The rises could prove particularly controversial for Premier Ted Baillieu, who campaigned before last year's state election on a promise to cut costs for families.
Daily, all-zone ticket users in Melbourne will be among the hardest hit, with prices jumping from $10.20 to $11.08 for myki card holders (8.6 per cent), and from $11 to $11.90 on Metcard (8.2 per cent).
The popular two-hour fare in metro zone one will jump by 8.6 per cent for myki card holders, from $3.02 to $3.28.
But two-hour Metcard users will get a partial reprieve, with the zone-one fare going up just over 5 per cent, from $3.80 to $4. It was decided to settle on the even $4 fare to avoid problems with coin vending machines.
A government spokesman told The Age fares were going up by an average of 8.6 per cent. This suggests some could rise more than 8.6 per cent, given that others are going up by less. A full list of the new prices was not available last night.
Regional rail travellers are also expected to be hit by an 8.6 per cent price rise, although V/Line was last night in the dark about the rises.
The fare increases are the biggest since 2004, when they went up by around 9 per cent.
And it is only the second time since Melbourne's trains and trams were privatised in 1999 that fares have gone up by more than the rate of inflation.
The government last night sought to blame the jump on the former Labor state government, which said in 2008 it would lift public transport fares by inflation plus another 5 per cent as part of a big infrastructure plan.
A spokeswoman for Mr Baillieu said Labor had already budgeted for the public transport fare increase before it was voted out. ''This increase was already included in the budget by Labor prior to the election of the Coalition,'' she said.
But Labor attacked the government for keeping the extra fare charges, while dumping many of its promises to improve public transport.
''The fare increases were designed to help fund new rail infrastructure under the Victorian Transport Plan but … the Liberals have dumped the plan,'' Labor public transport spokeswoman Fiona Richardson said.
''And now they are trying to blame this fare rise on us.''
While the plan to put up fares was first floated by the former government, the current administration has for weeks declined to answer questions about how much fares will go up on New Year's Day.
Train, tram and bus operators were still in the dark yesterday about what they would be charging their customers on New Year's Day.
Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said it was ironic that such a big rise was being pushed through by the Baillieu government.
''They promised to cut the cost of living, so increasing transport fares like this is going against that pledge. No public transport user will welcome having to pay so much more for getting around,'' he said.
''Surely with the increase in patronage, revenue has already increased by a huge amount. They shouldn't need to lay on a big increase in fare prices.
''The risk is that this will discourage people from using public transport.''
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