Redland City Mayor Karen Williams says pensioners and low income earners will benefit from the Translink go card extension to the Southern Moreton Bay Islands (SMBI).
“Based on the predicted 2013 go card fares, fares will be at least 30 per cent cheaper compared to the cost of a single paper ticket with a further 20 per cent saving for off-peak use.
“Aside from the free inter-island travel for island residents under the agreement, pensioner go-card holders who make two go card paid journeys in a single day will travel for free for the rest of the day.
“A resident concession holder, taking on average two inter-island return trips per week, will save over $200 per year.
“Even when the proposed rate levy is taken into account, a single SMBI pensioner ratepayer making one weekly return trip to Weinam Creek would be close to break even while a pensioner couple would be ahead.
“Travel savings will also extend to those visiting family and friends on the islands, encouraging more regular travel and helping to reduce social isolation for island retirees and seniors.
“I would encourage SMBI residents to make their own calculations on the costs and benefits rather than accept some of the current fare speculation.
“Helpful fare and Q&A information will soon be available on both Council and the Translink websites, in addition to Translink community forums planned for SMBI in the New Year.
“While the proposed levy contribution certainly helped to break the deadlock for this agreement, Council will review all SMBI rates and infrastructure charges when framing next year’s budget to minimise the impact on island ratepayers.
“The high cost of SMBI Island transport has long been a major brake on the SMBI economy, employment and the social welfare of islanders.
“I am very excited about the possibilities now available for the SMBI community.
“The reduction in SMBI public transport costs at last offers the prospect of a real boost to SMBI property values, business, tourism and employment,” Cr Williams said.
“The state member for Redlands Peter Dowling MP has been instrumental in helping to achieve this outcome,” Cr Williams said.
“Peter has rightly noted that the proposed transport rate levy on SMBI land owners of approximately $7 per month or $22.00 per quarter is an investment in the future.
“Council is looking forward to working with the SMBI community in the new year to fully leverage this investment.