Today the Victorian government has announced a 12 month trial of offering free public transport to disadvantaged Melbourne citizens. The trial comes off the back of the release of their fare compliance figures from the past six months.

95% of Melburnians are tapping on/off when using public transport, and the government is hoping to raise that figure by offering free transport to those who have no option but fare evasion to get places. The “emergency relief” ticket system hopes to help the less fortunate including homeless, and disadvantaged citizens to access weekly and monthly transport tickets for free.

Victorian citizens will be able to access these passes through community organisations such as the Red Cross who can purchase them at “heavily discounted” rates from the government. They will also be offering the discounted tickets to schools to help students who are at risk of disengaging from education.

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Disadavantaged Melburnians were previously able to get free day passes for public transport, but the government acknowledges that it was not meeting their needs. A press release sayys the passes were not working for everyone “particularly those experiencing complex issues that need more appointments, and more time to attend them.

“The Day Pass is also of limited use when appointments are changed or cancelled, or the pass holder is unable to attend an appointment due to the health, addiction or other issues they are dealing with.”

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Housing minister Michael Foley said “Many vulnerable people are being unnecessarily caught up in the legal system because the existing Day Pass is not meeting their needs – [the new passes] will help fix that.”

The trial is set to last for twelve months, and if it is deemed successful it is likely to remain in place permanently.