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Fare hikes for commuters and hospital workers as seniors ride for free

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South Australian Seniors Card holders can today board Adelaide’s trains, trams and buses free of charge, but regular commuters have been hit with a fare hike while a free public transport scheme for hospital workers has also been scrapped.

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Adelaide Metro announced on Tuesday it would apply an indexation rate of 2.5 per cent to all its fares at the start of the new financial year.

The fare hike, rounded to the nearest five cents, means an adult peak hour MetroCard trip now costs $4.05, up from $3.95 last financial year.

The cost of a single adult peak hour ticket has also risen to $5.95 from $5.80.

Concession card holders will pay $2.00 for peak hour MetroCard trips (up from $1.95) and $3.00 for a peak hour ticket (up from $2.90).

Adelaide Metro said the calculation of its 2.5 per cent indexation rate “takes into account a number of factors”, including the consumer price index which stands at 5.1 per cent.

But Greens MLC Robert Simms said the fare hikes were a “slap in the face to commuters”.

“It beggars belief that we are seeing public transport fares increase in the middle of a fuel crisis,” he said in a statement.

“At a time when petrol prices are soaring and cost of living is going through the roof, the government should be making public transport free to provide relief. Instead, we’re seeing a fare hike.”

It comes as Premier Peter Malinauskas yesterday spruiked his government’s introduction of universal free public transport for South Australian Seniors Card holders from July 1.

The scheme, a pre-election promise with a cost of around $5.24 million over four years, eliminates the requirement for Seniors Card holders to pay a concession fare during weekday peak hours.

The State Government estimates 430,000 seniors will be eligible for to ride for free.

But Malinauskas defended the fare hikes for other commuters, saying “we’re not doing more harm than what is necessary”.

“What we saw from the former government was that increases to bus fares were going over and above the rate of inflation,” he told reporters on Thursday

“Not under my government and not this year in South Australia.

“We don’t want to see fares going up at the rate of inflation … we will always try to keep the costs down.

“We’re very grateful for the fact that we’ve been able to do that on public transport.”

Meanwhile, free train, tram and bus rides for SA Health workers are also no longer in place from today.

Previously, hospital workers who presented a valid health identification access card were allowed to travel on public transport for free, but Adelaide Metro said the “temporary” measure has ended because the Major Emergency Declaration has been revoked.

“As South Australia transitions to the next phase of our COVID-19 response there will be changes to some of the temporary arrangements that were implemented during our COVID-19 response, including free public transport for hospital workers,” Adelaide Metro said in a statement.

“We understand that the provision of free transport was a popular and welcome benefit for staff during our COVID-19 response and that its removal may present challenges.

“We appreciate your ongoing understanding as we navigate this period of change.”

There is also currently no allocation in the State Budget for free public transport during next year’s festival season – an initiative of the previous Marshall Government.

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