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Queensland commuters may get free rides on trains, buses and ferries if they travel at off-peak times, says Qld Minister for Transport Rachel Nolan.

This is being considered because public transport is overloaded at peak hours and under-utilised at other times.

What made that news story of interest to me was that Rachel Nolan noted that the state government subsidises the cost of public transport by $3-$4 for every dollar spent by commuters. I guess the figure would be similar in other states.

In other words, if someone pays a dollar for his or her train fare, the taxpayer pays another $3-$4. Every time.

I’d like to know that there has been some sort of evidence based, not just wishful thinking based, study that shows that this level of subsidy for public transport is a reasonable and cost effective investment. In other words, that the benefits to the wider community outweigh the cost, and that tax payers would not be better off if this money was spent somewhere else.

If that is the case, then I don’t mind paying for other people’s bus tickets.

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