Liberals say public transport should be free for WA students and seniors

Feb 7, 2021 | Plan, State News, Transport, WA Labor

Zak Kirkup and the Liberals are fighting to help alleviate cost of living pressures on West Australian families, so have called for public transport to be made free for students and seniors. 

The $56 million plan would mean that school-aged students could travel on any bus, train or ferry network for free on school days, while seniors could travel for free at any time of the day. 

Mr Kirkup, the Liberal leader, said the plan would save WA families hundreds of dollars per year. 

“Public transport can be expensive for seniors and young families, and sometimes it is the only form of transport available,” he said. 

“Our plan will help alleviate the financial pressure on families and seniors. Every extra dollar in their pocket counts. It means they can spend more of their money on what they want. 

“We know that Labor’s $850 per year increases to household bills are putting too much pressure on our community. 

“Our free transport plan for all WA students and seniors is something the Labor Government could implement right now. They have a $2.1 billion surplus.” 

Mr Kirkup said the Liberals placed great importance on education and believed that no matter where people lived, travelling to and from school shouldn’t be a major impost on the family budget. 

“For a family with two school-aged children who use public transport services to and from school each day, this would save them $560 a year,” Mr Kirkup said. 

“It’s also part of our plan to encourage sustainable practices in our younger generation that will hopefully create long-lasting habits into the future.” 

The plan would also allow seniors to travel free on public transport at any time of day, not just off-peak periods. 

“We value the role of seniors in our community and know that many are facing extra cost of living pressures under the Labor Government,” Mr Kirkup said. 

“Travelling to appointments and commitments shouldn’t be an extra burden on seniors if they happen to fall in peak travel periods, which is why our plan ensures seniors can travel for free on public transport at any time of the day.” 

Mr Kirkup said the public transport support for students and seniors would apply to the whole state, not just Perth. 

“Labor are too metro-centric and continue to ignore the regions. This plan for free public transport for seniors and school-aged students will be available for all families across the State,” Mr Kirkup said. 

Shadow Transport Minister Libby Mettam said the Liberals would also commit $1.5 million from Royalties for Regions funding towards installing seat belts on all green PTA buses in regional areas. 

“We know that students in regional areas regularly travel long distances to and from school and are often on highways with buses travelling up to 90km/h,” Ms Mettam said. 

“Currently, the dedicated orange school buses are fitted with seatbelts but PTA buses aren’t and it isn’t good enough. 

“Having students unrestrained on buses travelling at high speeds is obviously a major concern for many parents and community members. 

“The Liberals are committed to keeping West Australians safe and will provide a better system to reduce the potential for serious harm on our regional roads.”