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Taxpayers fork out more than $40 for every trip taken on south-east Queensland’s trains as government subsidies balloon amid a drastic fall in passenger numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Public transport patronage has plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic.CREDIT:ROBERT SHAKESPEARE
Just two years ago, the government subsidy per passenger trip was $21.15 for rail.
But that almost doubled to $40.97 in 2020-21.
The subsidy per south-east Queensland bus trip increased from $4.02 to $7.30, while light rail surged from $3.64 to $8.16.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said subsidies had increased substantially because of a drop in patronage as a result of COVID-19.
“Subsidies are expected to reduce as patronage returns to the network and once impacts of the pandemic, including lockdowns, lessen,” he said, in response to a question on notice during budget estimates.
The subsidy was expected to decrease to $24.21 for rail, $3.42 for bus and $4.21 for light rail by 2023-24.
The surging subsidies came as people shied away from using public transport as lockdowns, a work-from-home trend and concerns about infection hit hard.
At the height of the pandemic, in April 2020, patronage dropped more than 80 per cent on the south-east Queensland public transport network.
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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