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Tasmanian Liberals promise half-price public bus, ferry fares until mid-2025

Pulse Tasmania
Metro Tasmania bus fares would be halved. Image / Pulse

Liberal Leader Jeremy Rockliff has announced a move to provide half-price public bus fares until mid-next year.

The policy, which will come into effect under a Liberal government, will cover Metro and rural routes as well as Derwent River Ferry services from 1 June.

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“School buses, general access buses, ferries across all fare types including adults, students and concession passengers will benefit from this measure,” Rockliff said.

“This will make a real hip-pocket difference to hundreds of thousands of Tasmanians.”

Michael Ferguson and Jeremy Rockliff. Image / Pulse

Under the commitment, a typical Metro fare will be reduced by half from $3.50 to $1.75, saving someone who catches a bus to and from work every day of the working week $17.50 a week.

“That saving is even bigger for regional Tasmanians. The bus fare from Smithton to Burnie halves from $16 to $8 and Hobart to Huonville goes down to just $4.40,” he said.

Metro Tasmania GreenCard users will be able to save under the policy. Image / Supplied

“We know that every dollar counts and that’s why we are taking immediate action to provide cost of living support to all Tasmanians.”

The move comes after Metro indefinitely scrapped a number of services in 2023 due to driver shortages, with Liberal Minister Michael Ferguson hoping the discount will encourage more people to use public transport.

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“We know that Metro Tasmania has struggled to deliver all its services due to a lack of drivers,” he said.

“Every person who takes a bus is potentially a vehicle off the road network, whether that’s on the Tasman Bridge or Wellington St in Launceston.”

The Liberals will invest $14 million to deliver the half-price fares and an additional $15 million over four years for “better service delivery”.

A Metro Bus at the Macquarie Street Bus Stop. Image / Pulse

Labor also jumped onboard the promise bus on Wednesday afternoon, confirming they would match Rockliff’s promise of half-price public transport fares for one year.

“Our cost-of-living public transport commitment comes with one key difference. A Labor government will also commit to rebuilding Metro so Tasmanians can again rely on public transport,” Labor candidate Josh Willie said.

“After 10 years asleep at the wheel in government, the Liberals have driven Metro into the ground.”

“Their treatment of the state’s primary public transport provider and its workers has led to 180 services being indefinitely cancelled, destroying the confidence Tasmanians have in Metro.”

Greens candidate Vica Bayley said his party would go even further and make public transport free for all across the state.

“While halving costs is great, with the Greens in balance of power we will be fighting to go the whole way and making it free, rather than pursuing half-measures … We need to see both major parties commit to making public transport completely free,” he said.

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