Just three per cent of Eggins Coaches customers pay full fare. It’s a low number, and director Richard Eggins is hoping new changes to regional bus fares will see “more bums on seats”.
Earlier this month, Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead announced bus commuters across the Myall Lakes electorate would “benefit from adult regional bus fares being cut by almost 30 per cent on average”, following the NSW government’s introduction of a new fare structure for regional bus operators.
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Mr Eggins hopes the new pricing structure will “mean a pick-up in patronage” but says that “for the last three years we have already discounted our adult fares by 30 per cent under the recommended fare that was set by transport.”
“We found that it made a little bit of a difference, but we only have three per cent of our passengers who are full fare paying passengers, most of them are pensioners and seniors.”
The adult fare from Taree to Old Bar or Wingham is now $4.90 down from up to $10.50 and the adult fare from Stockland Forster to Tuncurry is $3.40 instead of $5.
Mr Eggins says it will “make it more affordable for students and unemployed people to catch buses.”
“There are a fair few TAFE students who catch the bus as we have students going between Taree and Forster all the time for different courses.”
“We are just happy to get more people on the buses - the buses are here and if it’s more affordable more people will use them.
“There is limited public transport in the country because the government has to pay for it, and they don’t want to pay for more buses to go around empty, but the buses that we do have here, well we would much rather have people in them.”
Mr Bromhead said the government was still committed to upholding the discounts already in place for pensioner and senior concession card holders confirming the Regional Excursion Daily (RED) ticket for pensioners and seniors will remain at $2.50.