Rob Williams

Translink staff can't afford fares

TRANSLINK'S price increases have proved too much to bear for even the Queensland Government's own employees.

Queensland government workers, including TransLink, Treasury and Queensland Transport employees, are part of a group of fed-up commuters who have decided to stop using the train for their daily journeys to and from Brisbane.

Instead, they have organised a 12 vehicle carpool to avoid TransLink's rising fares.

Around 50 Ipswich commuters have joined the scheme, with each car carrying up to five passengers, which started on Monday.

The cost for a daily return seven-zone trip from Ipswich to Brisbane Central is $13.24.

TransLink fares increased by 15% in January, just as they did a year ago.

The saving per person can be quite significant, with early bird parking fees in the Brisbane CBD ranging from $15 to $22.

Most of the group's members know each other from travelling on the train and have links through an Ipswich sporting club.

Their group could expand the carpool if it proves successful.

Public servants taking part in the scheme have declined to be identified as they feel it may upset managers in their respective departments.

Originally the group considered chartering a 49-seater bus to drive the city workers into Brisbane each day, but the idea proved to be too inflexible.

Robert Dow, spokesman of public transport lobby group Rail Back on Track, said the carpool operation was proof commuters were not in favour of the fare hike.

"This highlights the public reaction to the fare increases," he said.

"Fifty people are now not using TransLink."

A TransLink spokesman said staff are encouraged to catch public transport to and from work.

"TransLink encourages active transport use such as cycling and walking, and carpooling is a smarter option than a single occupant driving a car.

"Public transport is still value for money compared to all the costs of running a private vehicle."

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