POLICY INITIATIVE BACKGROUND
The aim of this policy is to better design the way Victorian Seniors access discounts on public transport. Currently, there are discriminatory pricing rates and zone structure that favour city commuters and disadvantage regional commuters – particularly in the Latrobe Valley.
Victorian Seniors myki card holders are eligible for free travel on Saturdays and Sundays in two consecutive zones, and enjoy a daily cap of a $4.30 myki charge. They also receive annual free travel vouchers; two for metropolitan Seniors, four for regional Seniors, and an additional two vouchers for anyone holding a Pensioner Concession card (ref & ref).
However, the daily $4.30 cap does not apply outside of the Zone 1+2 metropolitan area, despite regional travel being significantly more expensive to travel larger distances. For example, the cost of travelling return from Traralgon to Melbourne for a Senior $30.60 on peak and $21.42 off peak or weekends (164kms).
The weekend consecutive zone travel is also of little significance to Latrobe Valley Seniors, due to our current zoning. For example, a Moe resident could use their Seniors myki to travel to Morwell free of charge via bus or train on the weekend – that’s 19kms – but they can’t get to Traralgon as that is another zone for myki purposes. However, a metropolitan Senior could travel Stoney Point to Thornbury (80 kms), Melbourne to Melton (50 kms), or Pakenham to Tottenham (70 kms) as these are all within two consecutive zones.
In addition, a Senior travelling within Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura and Warrnambool can travel on their bus network on the weekend for free, but the Latrobe Valley do not have the same opportunity. To make matters worse, our Seniors travelling from Rosedale do not have access to myki yet, which means free travel on weekends is not even an option.
My policy initiative calls upon the State Government to update the current discriminatory ticketing system to allow;
1. Free travel for eligible Seniors on weekends, when utilising train and bus services within the Latrobe City Municipality.
2. Cap weekday daily public transport costs for Latrobe Valley Seniors at $4.30, similar to metropolitan Seniors Myki cardholders. For example, if a Senior from Pakenham is able to travel 80 kms during the week at a cost of $4.30, Latrobe City Seniors should be allowed the same privilege.
3. Double the number of annual free travel vouchers for Latrobe City Senior Myki card holders from four, to eight.
These changes would provide the more opportunity to regional Seniors to enjoy free travel, similar to their peers in metropolitan areas. It may also encourage travel within ours and other regions, to take advantage of the wonderful tourism and retail options that regional Victoria has to offer.
I’m fighting for a fair and great public transport system for all Victorians, regardless of whether we live in the city or the country. I’m standing with Latrobe City Senior residents who wish to use our public transport network, but the cost presents a barrier.