By Juliano Oliveira
As of today, only go card or tickets from station fare machines will be accepted in the South-East public transport.
In an attempt to speed up boarding and reduce contact between drivers and passengers, the Queensland Government has decided to forbid commuters from paying cash.
“By temporarily stopping cash payments, we’re aiming to avoid queues as people search for change to pay their fare and give customers more space to practice social distancing when they board,” Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said.
“We’re close to trialling smart ticketing technology, but our buses aren’t equipped to accept contactless payments from credit cards or mobile devices yet.
“While the health advice says it is good hygiene practise to wash your hands after handling cash, this decision is a further precaution to support the health and safety of frontline transport staff and our customers.”
The cashless measure will be in force until 31 December 2020, with decisions to cut short or extend the trial dependent on the wider COVID-19 containment response.
“Almost 90 per cent of all public transport trips in SEQ are paid for with go cards, so this change won’t impact the majority of our customers,” Mr Bailey said.
“Customers who use paper tickets will need to change their habits, especially those who prefer paying cash.
“To help with this change, TransLink will supply community groups that support seniors and other vulnerable commuters with a limited number of pre-loaded go cards and provide them with assistance in showing commuters how to use them.
“For an initial period, drivers will be given discretion to allow passengers to travel when they state they have not been able get a go card, and TransLink will monitor that.
According to Mr Bailey, bus drivers will have additional protection – by blocking off the front row of seats onboard vehicles and disabling the go card reader nearest the driver.
Some operators whose buses have a rear door and front door, will also restrict entry and exit to the rear door.
“I have directed Queensland Rail and TransLink to increase their cleaning programs.
“More cleaning staff have been recruited to disinfect trains, trams, buses and ferries every day in South East Queensland.
“Surfaces at stations, including hand-rails and lift buttons, are also being cleaned.
Customers who don’t own a go card can buy one from over 680 locations across SEQ such as at 7 elevens, Night Owls, staffed train stations.
Go card stock will be increased at retailers to ensure shortages aren’t experienced.
For more information about how to get go cards and set them up with useful features like auto top-up, visit translink.com.au or call 13 12 30 anytime.