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The Victorian Government Is Launching Free Public Transport for Disadvantaged Melburnians

It's part of a year-long trial to keep fares fair and help support homeless and disadvantaged Victorians.
By Lauren Vadnjal
October 06, 2018
By Lauren Vadnjal
October 06, 2018

Today, Public Transport Victoria released its twice-yearly fare compliance figures, stating that 95 percent of travellers on metropolitan services have been touching on and off. But what about the other five percent — namely, those that have no choice but to fare evade to get to where they need to go?

In an attempt to help out on this front, the Victorian Government has today launched a trial 'emergency relief' ticket system for those that need it. This will allow homeless and disadvantaged Victorians to access free weekly and monthly travel passes so that they can get to appointments and access basic services.

Approved schools and community organisations (like the Red Cross and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, for example) will purchase the passes at a "heavily discounted" rate, and then pass the onto the people they support for no cost. The passes are valid in zones one and two, and on regional buses .

The decision comes after a review found that those that can't afford to buy a ticket are often forced to fare evade  — and, in turn, get fined and stuck in the legal system — to get access the services and care they need. This trial will attempt to avoid this. Previously, disadvantaged Victorians could access free day passes, but these longer passes will allow for more flexibility and changing circumstances.

"This is the next step in our ongoing work to make our public transport ticketing system simpler and fairer for passengers across Victoria," said Minister for Housing Martin Foley today in a statement.

The trial will run for 12 months — if it's deemed successful, it's likely that it will continue indefinitely. And, hopefully, be introduced in other states.

Published on October 06, 2018 by Lauren Vadnjal


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