THE five-week trial of free buses has been an overwhelming success with 100,000 extra people choosing to ride on public transport.
Very strong demand was experienced from the East Coasts to Sorell, Sorell to Hobart and in the Derwent Valley.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael Ferguson said bus usage was up 15 per cent.
“Due to high fuel prices we took action with this cost-busting, household budget-saving five-week fare-free period,’’ Mr Ferguson said.
“This has shown that bus travel is a convenient transport option to get people where they need to be without the hassle of tackling traffic or finding and paying for parking.
“During the free-ride period we have received great feedback from those who have chosen to try out the bus for the first time or who have come back to buses after a long break.’’
Tasmania’s largest bus operator, Metro Tasmania, reported a statewide average increase of 15 per cent, with services on weekends state-wide seeing the biggest jump in passenger numbers.
“Other operators reported various patronage growth across other services, notably up to 60 per cent growth on the new North West Express service, introduced in early 2021 to connect Devonport and Burnie,’’ he said.
The free service ended last Saturday April 30.
“We continue to heavily subsidise fares, investing about $100 million a year in connecting Tasmanians via public transport and a range of concession programs, to keep fares as low as possible,’’ Mr Ferguson said.
“Bus travel is still one of the most affordable ways to get around.”