IPART is investigating how fares should best be set for the services provided, how these fares relate to those paid for similar services in metropolitan areas, and how services might be improved to better meet passenger demands. IPART has been asked to determine the maximum fares for rural and regional bus services from 1 January 2018, and provide advice to the NSW Government on the development of on-demand services in rural and regional areas of NSW. They have released an Issues Paper identifying the key issues on which they seek stakeholder input. They now invite stakeholders to: participate in IPART’s online passenger and bus operator surveys to help them understand use of public transport services in rural and regional areas. make a written submission in response to the Issues Paper. Their online survey and submissions will be open until 29 June 2017. Once they have undertaken their analysis and considered the advice and submissions they receive, they will release a Draft Report in September 2017 that explains their draft determination, findings and recommendations, and seek further submissions. They will then consider all submissions and comments on the Draft Report before making their final determinations and recommendations, and provide their Final Report to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure in December 2017.
IPART Chair Dr Peter Boxall said around 200 people have already completed the online surveys at ipart.nsw.gov.au, which take just 2-5 minutes to complete.
“Most trips in regional and rural NSW are made by private vehicles, but buses and other forms of public transport provide a valuable service for those unable to drive or without access to a vehicle,” Dr Boxall said.
“We want to hear from people who use bus services, and those who don’t use them about what changes would be needed to make catching a bus a more viable alternative to private cars.
“These options may include changes to fares or to the way bus services are provided, for example by more flexible departure times, pick-up and drop-off points.”
Dr Boxall said responses to the survey will be considered along with formal submissions in preparing recommendations for consideration by the NSW Government. Local residents, community groups and transport providers have until 29 June to make submissions to IPART on the proposed approach to the Review of rural and regional bus fares from 1 January 2018. There will a further opportunity for submissions once a draft report is released in September.