Minister says security increase will tackle transport woes
QUEENSLAND Transport Minister Mark Bailey has hit back at a Sunshine Coast MP's questions about "dodgy" fare evasion tactics.
Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson yesterday asked Mr Bailey to "get serious" about tackling fare evasion and security issues on public transport and explain why his claims about extra transport officers on Sunshine Coast buses "didn't stack up".
Ms Simpson said the Minister claimed transport officers, or Senior Network Officers (SNOs), were deployed on Sunshine Coast Sunbus services a total of 572 times in 2018, during which time they issued only 12 penalty infringement notices and 215 warnings to fare evaders.
"I want to see more SNOs travelling on Sunshine Coast buses and monitoring our bus stations to tackle this problem more effectively," she said.
Mr Bailey has responded to Ms Simpson's call for action, saying the department was ramping up its presence on the Sunshine Coast.
"I've instructed TransLink to hire up to 16 new SNOs who will add to the presence of transport officers, police and Queensland Rail staff on the Sunshine Coast," Mr Bailey said.
He said SNOs travelled on 572 Coast services in 2018, compared to 462 trips on services the year before.
"The feedback from bus drivers is when we have network officers on buses, no one is evading fares. Bus drivers have backed our action to hire more SNOs," he said.
"Safety of our passengers, especially young people is our number priority, however there are some people taking advantage of this.
"We recognise this is a complex issue, which involves the entire community. That is why next month we'll be holding a roundtable with government, the community and education sectors to discuss how we can discourage fare evasion."