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Published on May 10, 2024

A peak body representing people with disability has today welcomed the announcement that throughout the new MyWay+ installation phase during October and November no fares will be collected from passengers and said it should be a springboard to making public transport free.

According to Government this is to allow a seamless switchover to the new service expected for a full launch in November, effectively making transport on the bus network free during the transition. For the full Government announcement, see here.

AFI Head of Policy Craig Wallace said “AFI has for some time joined other community groups advocating for a cost-benefit analysis for free public transport in Canberra.

“Cost of living pressures have been growing in Canberra and are being compounded by rising fuel prices. Making public transport free permanently would have a significant impact for people on low incomes and those experiencing disadvantage.

“Instead of being a transition to a new fare collection system this two-month window into free transport should be a preview of the business case for making transport permanently free.  

“Fare free periods like this remind us that transport is a public good and the fares do not cover the costs of running the network while fare collection itself has a cost. 

“On the other hand, there are cost benefits in unlocking social and economic participation by making it easier and freer for people to travel, especially those with transport disadvantage. 

“People with transport disadvantage have the greatest need to travel, including for medical, Centrelink appointments and casual work and face the greatest isolation when they can’t, but they have the least flexibility about where and how they move across the city. This is particularly the case for people with disability.

“Transport and poverty as causes of isolation were reinforced by our evidence at this week’s Inquiry into Loneliness where we noted that the ACT Wellbeing Framework tells us that 26% of people with disability were ‘often feeling lonely’ while the economic impact of loneliness in Canberra approaches $125 million.  

“We should also turn attention to ensuring all buses are accessible by a set deadline as called for in last weeks shared platform released by ACT disability groups. We’ve been waiting long enough and need the older Renault Buses off the road by next year. 

“Not everyone can use buses or the tram so approaches to transport equity for people with disability also need to ensure that point to point transport including taxi’s, rideshares and community transport are available, accessible and, in the case for community transport, adequately funded. We also need urgent attention to the infrastructure surrounding transport hubs – streets, bike paths and kerbs.

“A great start was made last year by increasing subsidies under the ACT Taxi Subsidy Scheme and we need further work on wheelchair taxis to diversify the fleet and improve response times”, Mr. Wallace concluded. 

Media Contacts

Craig Wallace, Head of Policy on 0477 200 755 or

Nicolas Lawler, Chief Executive Officer on 0439 431 814