New fares for those who take ACTION

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From: Canberra Times
BY GRAHAM DOWNIE
01 Jul, 2002 07:42 AM

New ACTION fares begin today with the abolition of the zonal system.

The change means about 70 per cent of current passengers will pay about 6 per cent more and about 30 per cent will pay up to 46 per cent less.

The Government hopes these reductions will encourage more people to use buses but has budgeted about $1.76 million annually over the next five years to pay for the change.

From today the adult cash fare will increase by 10c to $2.40 and the concession cash fare is also up by 10c to $1.30.

But the cash fare will allow travel across Canberra including transfers between buses. A transfer must begin within 60 minutes of the original journey.

People who previously traveled on all-zone tickets will benefit with a monthly ticket reduced by more than 40 per cent from $136 to $80.50.

Those who previously used single-zone tickets will pay $5.50 more, an increase of nearly 6 per cent.

The adult fare saver, giving 10 rides, will increase from $19.80 to $21. The previous all-zone fare saver cost $39, giving a 46 per cent reduction.

ACTION chief executive Guy Thurston said the fare saver was recommended as the best value.

The fare saver for school students will increase by more than 15 per cent from $6.50 to $7.50 and school-term tickets will increase by more than 11 per cent from $49.50 to $55. Neither increased last year.

”Both provide excellent value,” Mr Thurston said.

School travel would cost only $1.10 a day.

Mr Thurston asked people with unused or partly used all-zone tickets to fully use them.

The tickets could then be returned to ACTION for a pro-rata refund.

Refund forms were available at all bus interchanges or from ACTION’s web site. Cheques for more than $20 or tickets for less would be returned within 10 working days. Refunds would be available until August 31.

The Government has been criticised by Opposition spokesman on the Aged and Family Services, Greg Cornwell, for not honouring its promise to remove a restriction on pensioner travel at peak times.

Mr Thurston said the normal pensioner half-fare still applied at any time but the off-peak pensioner daily ticket could not be used during peaks. ”We wanted to identify usage before making any change,” he said.