The Issue at a Glance
Should public transport be free?
What is the new plan?
- The Napthine government has pledged to cap maximum daily fares at the zone 1 rate across Melbourne
- Melburnians will be guaranteed free travel on trams within the CBD and Docklands
ticket inspectors will no longer police inner-city tram routes.
- Full-fare commuters travelling from zone 2 into zone 1 will now pay $6.06
- Those living within zone 1 will pay $3.58 for a two-hour journey.
- The Committee for Melbourne supports the free trams in the CBD and Docklands.
- These changes to be introduced January 1 of 2015
How will this affect people travelling in Melbourne?
- Free travel within the CBD makes it easier for shoppers and tourists to navigate the city
- Tourists will no longer need to invest in a myki card to be able to explore Melbourne's inner-city
- Reduction of living cost for Melbourne residents
- Increased public transport use decongests roads and is better for the environment
- reduce fare evasion in the city on crowded trams and make transport more accessible.
Public opinion is divided. Some believe this plan is the best option for Melbourne, while others believe it is the wrong move.
Those against it say:
Those in favour of the plan have argued the following:
- It is believed by many that making public transport free is the morally correct thing to do. It makes school, work and leisure easier for Melbourne residents and visitors, while also deterring use of cars and in the process improving the environment
- By reducing congestion in the city Melbourne may become more attractive to international students.
- Businesses and shoppers would no longer have "worries about Myki, about touching on and off when you go into the city’’. This would be beneficial to Melbourne's commercial sector.
Those against it say:
- Passengers who travel to and from the CBD are already paying for a daily fare and free CBD and Docklands tram travel will only benefit drivers to the city.
- When Perth introduced free CBD bus travel, many passengers got on the bus in the CBD and fare evaded beyond the ‘‘free’’ zone boundary. It is argued that the same is likely to happen in Melbourne.
- There are also fears that to compensate for this new plan, tram fares will otherwise increase for paying passengers.
- "The government estimates the scheme would cost $100 million each year." Many believe that this money would be better spent improving the existing system: "people in Melbourne’s urban fringe indicated most would prefer better, not cheaper, public transport."