Monday, February 29, 2016

Correspondence: The Absurdity of Translink's New Ticketing Products

Below is an email exchange with Erin from the Translink Stakeholder Relations Team regarding the new Business Go Cards. We're stunned at the absurdity of the response which took a few days for Erin to draft. We feel the response is not only inadequate but deluded. If an organisation like Translink produces such deluded correspondence in defence of it's actions, this speaks volumes about the health of it's organisational culture. The below response is evidence that Translink is a truly sick organisation and that the supposed integrated ticketing they are responsible for is an utter failure.  
The 2 new specialist Go Cards that are apparently part of a "pilot program". 

I'm seeking information about the costs to business and event organisers to provide the new Go Access Go Card to employees and event attendees.

I note that the Transport Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe has made no statements regarding the new Go Access Go Card and has offered no reasons for the development of these new ticketing products.

If the costs to businesses and event organisers is minimal then is it not the public purse that bears the burden of journeys made with Go Access Go Cards? It is irresponsible and fundamentally untransparent to launch this product without thorough disclosure of costs and evidence that equity issues have been given full consideration.

Right now the public have very little information to inform them of any justifications/rational for this product.

We could see a large portion of CBD commuters provided this product creating 2 tiers of commuter. Is a sandwich hand or sales assistant likely to receive a Go Access Go Card? Does the existence of yet another specialist Go Card product indicate fundamental problems with network design and failure of integrated ticketing?

An unemployed person will spend $6.70 minimum to attend a job interview or appointment with an employment provider on the Translink SEQ network.

Please provide a prompt response.


Michael Swifte
Page Manager
The Translink Ripoff

Good afternoon Michael,
In response to your enquiry regarding our go Access Corporate Events Card, I hope the following information is of assistance.
TransLink works hard to make sure public transport is encouraged and easily accessible to all Queenslanders and our visitors.

The go access Corporate Events Card is currently being piloted in south-east Queensland with the aim of attracting conference organisers to hold their event in Queensland. The pilot also aims to encourage event attendees to get out and about and spend locally while they are in this part of the State.

This product, details of which have been on the TransLink website since mid last year, are only available to eligible event-associated organisations through direct order from TransLink. These organisations pay in advance for this bulk purchase as part of their conference or event offering. Event organisers will often add on margins above the card price to cover their event expenses. The card is self-sufficient and does not require public money to sustain it.
A minimum bulk order of 50 cards (adult cards only) must be purchased at $12 each for use over three days. Additional days can be added at a cost of $4 per day and limited to a maximum of eight days. The product can only be used for the number of days purchased and expires at the end of the event. The price of the product has been set to cover costs, based on the average value of travel taken by event delegates. 

The government has been praised by the tourism and events industry for introducing this product due to the revenue and awareness it brings for our state and the easy public transport access it offers visitors. The card has also received praise from international and national delegates who have been keen to explore similar initiatives due to its success. This product elevates our credentials on an international scale as a competitive event location as organisers are easily able to organise cost-effective travel for attendees.

Not only does this product help reduce road congestion by encouraging public transport use but it also helps support our state through the extra revenue generated by national and international attendees as they explore and spend locally. 

The corporate event card will be rolled out more broadly as the ongoing success of the pilot continues. TransLink will continue to develop ticketing options that respond to customer needs.
Many thanks, Erin.
Government and Stakeholder Relations Team
Office of the Deputy Director-General
TransLink Division
| Department of Transport and Main Roads

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Why have we not posted here for 11 months?

We never got our second promised meeting with Jackie Trad. In fact her staff were not prepared to provide us with any response let alone a formal refusal.

While Jackie Trad was transport minister she managed to create an even more muddied situation than when she arrived in office. She launched the current fare review that we know almost nothing about, and has included no consultation with the people. The terms of reference were not presented for discussion in any way, not via the media, not through a Translink run consultation. The fare review is essentially a 'black box' exercise ably assisted by our local media who seem to have zero interest in asking tough questions which is extremely disappointing. After former transport minister Scott Emerson's recent fare review taskforce leaks which are clearly timed to send messages during the Brisbane City Council and regional council elections the fare review outcomes are being used as a political football. New transport minister Stirling Hinchcliffe has shifted the language around the fare review emphasising the release of it's recommendations and skipping over the first phase when the taskforce will present a "detailed options paper" for community engagement. We are right to be very concerned about this situation.

While Jackie Trad might have gained a tiny bit of mileage from cancelling planned fare increases the situation remains as dire as ever. The new transport minister refuses to engage in any communication with us. This is especially saddening because Translink have embarked on some disturbing and completely uncommunicated, non-integrated ticketing options, and new, adhoc bus route reforms that have been "funded" by the BCC. Translink continues to allow council to operate outside of it's role as planning stakeholder and bus service provider.

We've included here the most recent fare table and we swear we'll be more active with content here as soon as we shake off the mud and confusion.

You can look forward to our review of Brisbane City Council election policies (profoundly disappointing) and we will be following up with Translink on their suite of new and bizarre "ticket-types" being piloted and rolled out while the fare review continues it's deliberations.