BUS users in Albury-Wodonga would have lower fares and be able to buy one ticket to traverse the Twin Cities under a proposed shake-up.
IPART, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, has recommended the changes after reviewing bus services across regional NSW.
From January 1, two to less than 10km fares that previously cost between $3.90 and $4.50 on Albury bus routes operated by Martin’s would fall to $3.40.
In assessing bus runs on the Border, IPART found the three major concerns were – different ticketing systems, circuitous routes and concession eligibility.
It wants Transport for NSW to require Martin’s and Dyson bus lines to adopt a system that would “allow passengers to purchase a single ticket for their entire journey across both operators’ service areas including across the border”.
Currently a passenger travelling from Wodonga to Lavington has to buy two tickets to complete their journey.
Martin’s chief David Martin welcomed the move.
“We want to try and make it the one city rather than two cities in two states, because it’s got to be better for the customer,” he said.
“There’s going to be a little bit of technology and a few business rules between governments to be sorted out but hopefully we can get it passed.”
Dyson North East regional manger Brett Drinnan cautiously backed the call.
“In a perfect world to have an integrated system would be fantastic for the travelling public, but there’s lots of bureaucracy and red tape to get through to make it happen,” he said.
Both bus bosses will attend an IPART consultation session in Wagga next Tuesday ahead of its draft report, containing the recommendations, being finalised.
It is uncertain whether Transport for NSW will support the single ticket recommendation with the organisation unable to answer The Border Mail’s question about what its response would be on the matter.
Mr Martin would like a ticket regime, combining fares based on distance and time, on the Border.
“What I’m hoping for is a single fare, return fare and a 10-trip fare, which we do now, and a day-ticket because currently only pensioners get a $2.50 all-day ticket,” he said.
Albury bus fares have been based on distance, with Wodonga’s aligned to time.
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