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RUNNING Mount Isa's Inlander rail service comes at a cost of $2000 per passenger, but there would be greater social harm if the state government elected to scrap the service.
That's the view of State Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter. In February, the state government announced a full review into all long-distance coach, train and air services.
The North West Star was told by a Queensland Rail employee earlier this week that the Inlander rail service from Mount Isa to Townsville would get the axe following the federal election next month.
A spokesperson from the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) said the final recommendations from the review of rail services were not complete and a decision was yet to be made.
"How people travel in regional Queensland is changing, so it is important the services we offer reflect this change," the spokesperson said.
"The review looked at better value on western train services where the Westlander between Brisbane and Charleville, and the Inlander between Townsville and Mt Isa costs taxpayers more than $2000 for each passenger."
Mr Katter said he was bitterly opposed to any removal of another essential service to the North West. "The pertinent point is that it would remove an existing service that not many people use but is critical and affordable for the people who do use it."
Figures from the DTMR show just 6,049 full playing passengers used the service in 1012/13, with more than two thirds made up of concession passengers.
Mr Katter said when usage went down on light rail services surrounding Brisbane the state invested more money and increased the service rather than cut it all together.
"They will use the same logic that the usage isn't enough but when they pull away these services they diminish the livability of our region," he said. "I do not trust that any airline subsidy in its place will provide the utility of the Inlander service or be here in the longterm."
n Patronage for the Inlander in 2012/13:
n Passenger journeys - 6094
n Concession passenger journeys - 4184
This article first appeared on www.northweststar.com.au
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