Another day, another tax increase proposal.
As reported in the Australian Financial Review today, a PWC report commissioned by the Tourism and Transport Forum says:
Australian cities recover a fraction of the cost of public transport tickets compared with their international counterparts and governments need to increase fares to make the system sustainable.
According to its website, the Tourism and Transport Forum:
is the peak industry group for the Tourism, Transport and Aviation sectors.
It is thus not obvious why they are meddling in this area. But notwithstanding, why is it assumed that because the ratio of fare revenue to costs is too low that the only available solution is to increase fares? Why are they not advocating for a reduction in the cost of delivering public transport? You know, how it works in a normal business?
Included in its ‘analysis’, the Tourism and Transport Forum offers the usual survey nonsense question about paying more for getting more:
A survey by TTF found 39 per cent of people were willing to pay more if it meant better transport services.
The rigor is such surveys is usually, how do they say in French, le crap, with the survey sample often including people who don’t actually use the service in question being asked about someone else paying more.
But why do we need to pay more to get better anyway? We don’t pay more for better televisions, mobile phones, computers, cars, clothes, toys, and lots of other things. The difference being that the government does not provide those goods and services.
As Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer said before the 1991 Senate Print Media Inquiry
… as a government I can tell you you’re not spending it (taxes) that well that we should be donating extra.
Let’s have some research also in the the relative costs of public transport per kilometer of distance and then talk about cost recovery. Until then, government should fix the efficiency and productivity of their public transport systems before increasing transport fares.