Budget measure: Free public transport

Rising electricity costs have made it difficult to live on an Age Pension.

Budget measure: Free public transport for pensioners

Rising electricity costs, food prices and the cost of rent has made it difficult to live on an Age Pension and free nation-wide public transport would lessen this burden.

The State Government of Western Australia is leading the charge when it comes to providing for those worse off. The government currently provides free off-peak public transport on Transperth services between 9am and 3.30pm during weekdays and free transport all day on weekends and public holidays for those on the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carers Health Care card holders. But these services can and need to be expanded.

The ASFA Retirement Standard benchmarks the annual budget to fund a comfortable living needed by Australians who live alone as $22,585, an amount significantly higher than current pension rates. Struggling is a word used by many aged pensioners who have found themselves renting in non-government funded residences, living from payment to payment. There is no doubt that further increases to Age Pensions are required, but providing key services to those who need them most at no cost is of even greater importance. By providing free public transport for regional and metropolitan transport services Australia-wide, pensioners who have been limited to leaving their residence a few days every week because of budget constraints, can now increase their quality of life by getting out and about more often.

Many will argue that transport is the role of a state, not the Federal Government, but when a policy is to be enforced in every state and territory and to be funded nationally, it becomes a Federal Government matter and a key policy which could be taken to an election.

What do you think? Would free public transport make a difference to your quality of life?

    Related Stories


    To make a comment, please register or login
    9th May 2013
    Don't know. We don't even have a bus service. Nearest stop is 3 km away up a steep hill and down again about 70m. There about four buses a day and if you are lucky enough to get to where the bus stop should be if there was one, the bus will take you away from the centre of town on a ''loop'' service and when you finally arrive,you will find that it takes a lot longer than walking the entire five km total length from home to town centre. And we live in a large country town about 90 km out of Brisbane for that privilege. As for getting to the next nearest town - forget it or take some camping gear to to get you through the trip. Public transport? Phooey.
    9th May 2013
    We are in a similar boat, school bus in and out of town where we live. However, when we travel to the big smoke of Sydney we use the train to get there, which only costs a minimal amount for a 1st class seat. Whilst in Sydney we avail ourselves of a $2.50 all day pass or use the free CBD bus if it suits our destination. This allows us to travel more often than if we flew and used that expensive airport rail link.
    It is a great idea for city-dwellers, but we who live in the country can get other more important things at home, such as fresh air and silence when we desire it.
    9th May 2013
    For those able to catch public transport a boon, for those who are disabled and have to pay half price taxis would be no help,at all. But overall fantastic idea.
    9th May 2013
    Great for those who can use it, better to keep some people happy than none at all.
    9th May 2013
    Free Transport would definitely make a difference to our quality of life. We would probably make the roads a lot safer according to some reports that tell us the older drive is a health hazard to the other drivers. We could sell our old car and travel around more than we do now as it is too expensive to use the car very often, usually only when public transport is not available - But the Public Transport System needs a lot of work done to it to make it a viable alternative because getting older means we can't walk as far as we would like to get this transport - wake up Government! Make it available and we will use it.
    9th May 2013
    Free public transport in off peak times would be a great help, we do have it at weekends but weekdays would help a great deal, many places in Europe give pensioners free public transport but our state & federal governments just seem to want to tale from pensioners & give as little as possible.
    9th May 2013
    We need to be like NSW $2.50 a day for Pensioners to travel on all transport. I went from Newcastle to Sydney for the day return via train and then I was free to keep travelling on Ferry, bus and train. We have paid our taxes all our lives. We deserve it but not likely in Queensland.
    9th May 2013
    3 cheers for WA and SA has the same FREE travel within certain hours of the day. Yes, why can't it be National?

    10th May 2013
    Living in WA and able to travel free on buses & trains in off-peak times does make a big difference, we also get 1 free return Coach trip a year at any time and at concession rate of 1/2 price when that has been used so I can go Perth-Albany (400kms) once free or $38.00 each way other times.

    Maybe the fact that there are plenty of free seats in off peak times so we are using those could be used as an argument in other states to get them to provide the same free travel for other Concession holders in the other States. We also have a State Senior Card issued by WA (have to be over 60 live in WA and work less than 21 hours) to be used as a swipe card for travel and also to gain some other concessions.

    Wish all the Seniors in other States the best of luck in gaining these concessions.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles