Submission to Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal: Review of Rural and Regional Bus Fares from 1 January 2018
CPSA's response to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal's review of rural and regional bus fares from 1 January 2018.
CPSA welcomes the opportunity to respond to the draft report released by IPART as part of the Review of rural and regional bus fares from 1 January 2018. This submission details CPSA’s concerns with a number of the draft recommendations. However, it should be read with an understanding that on the whole, CPSA is very supportive of IPART’s Draft Report, which centres on the need to improve value for money for rural and regional bus patrons. In particular, CPSA welcomes IPART’s draft decisions to reduce maximum fares for most journeys and introduce daily fare caps.
CPSA acknowledges that delivering public bus services in rural and regional NSW is more expensive per person than in metropolitan areas due to the fact that there are fewer passengers and journeys tend to be longer overall. On top of that, people living in rural and regional areas tend to have lower average incomes than those living in metropolitan areas which reduce their capacity to pay for public transport services.
However, public transport plays a key role in supporting the physical and mental health and wellbeing of individuals, enabling people to access essential services and to remain active and engaged with their communities. This becomes increasingly important for people as they age, particularly for those who have ceased driving in rural and regional areas. Accordingly, CPSA calls on IPART to give more weight to the social and economic benefits that affordable and accessible bus services would deliver to rural and regional residents, rather than the pressure to recover costs of service provision.