Thursday, December 8, 2016

Our Letter to the Transport Minister's Media Person

We're less than 4 weeks from the big zone and fare changes that were implemented within days of the issue of a report from the Fare Review Taskforce back in June. At this stage we have a low resolution regional zone map, a fare structure for the new zone arrangements, and a Fairer Fares Community Engagement Report. It seems this government made zero effort to share the Fairer Fares Community Engagement Report with the community it apparently engaged with. 

In frustration at the constant obfuscation at every level of the Translink machine, and with serious concerns about what will happen come January 1st, 2017 we have approached the media person for transport minister Stirling Hinchcliffe. Since we are expecting that Stirling Hinchcliffe's media person will make every effort to not give us satisfactory answers to our questions we've decided to post our communication here. 


Sent to: Darren Roberts - Media Person for Queensland Transport Minister, Stirling Hinchcliffe, 09/12/16


Hello Darren,

I'm following up from our phone call of today at 1.30pm. I'm glad you have given me your personal undertaking that you will respond to my questions in writing in a timely fashion. I would urge that you make the responses fulsome and as detailed as possible. I would also urge that you adhere to the time frame that I will provide in this email.

Time frame: By close of business Monday December 12, 2016 I would like answers to each of my 7 questions provided in written form, most preferably in an email.

Here are my 7 questions.

1. What date did the Translink Division/Queensland government/Queensland Department of Transport or any other relevant entity publish the Fairer Fares Community Engagement Report to the web page at this URL: https://haveyoursay.translink.com.au/seq-fare-review

2. What was the communications strategy around the release of the Fairer Fares Community Engagement Report? (I would ask that the minister answer this question while being mindful that the social media record shows little to no evidence of any attempt to disseminate or share the Fairer Fares Community Engagement Report. Further I would remind the minister that the Fairer Fares Community Engagement Report has not been assigned a URL and does not exist on it's own web page, but rather it is a download only document.)

3. Why does the PDF version of the Fairer Fares Community Engagement Report (the only version available to the public) contain extremely limited metadata other than a creation date of 02/09/2016 making the document virtually invisible to internet searches?

4. Why has the transport minister Stirling Hinchcliffe made no formal or informal statements regarding the Fairer Fares Community Engagement Report? (Please be mindful of previous commitments have been made in writing by Stirling Hinchcliffe wherein he committed to an "extensive community consultation") http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/2/4/statement-on-the-independent-fare-review

5. When will Translink/Stirling Hinchcliffe be providing information to the South East Queensland public about the changes initiated through the fare review including but not limited to: concession fare arrangements for low income healthcare card holders, detailed zone boundary information (the current map titled 'Proposed 8 zone map' lacks appropriate detail), and any relevant changes/circumstances/consideration arising from from implementation of actions initiated as a response to the SEQ Review Taskforce Recommendations Report?

6. Is the transport minister prepared to make a detailed statement in writing explaining how his government made every attempt to satisfy the Terms of Reference for the Fare Review Taskforce? I would ask that the minister, in formulating his response, be mindful of this statement in the Terms of Reference document outlining the process for community consultation:

"The taskforce will develop a detailed options paper for public consultation.
Following on from public consultation recommendations will be submitted to government."

7. Why was the September 2016 performance snapshot only published yesterday 08/12/16 and why is the October snapshot still unpublished? (it has been customary to publish each snapshot a month after the relevant service period). If indeed the minister has an explanation for not publishing performance data in a timely manner, would the minister provide that explanation to me?

Regards

Michael Swifte
Page Manager - The Translink Ripoff


EDIT: On December 14 after Darren Roberts refused to answer my questions taking issue with my publication of his name in this blog post. I presented these 7 questions to the TransLink External Affairs team. Today, 10/01/17, after apologies for failing to respond to my questions in a timely fashion I received a phone call and email from Jesse at the TransLink Call Centre/Customer Relations. I was able to confirm from Kristen from the TransLink External Affairs team that my requests for information from TransLink Call Centre/Customer Relations  08/12/16, Darren Roberts 09/12/1, and TransLink External Affairs 14/12/16 were amalgamated. 


Text of email from Jesse at TransLink Customer Relations, 10/01/17, TransLink@translink.com.au


Dear Michael

I am writing in follow up to your telephone call to TransLink on 8 December 2016 and email on 9 December 2016, requesting information on the recent fair review.

In consulting with the relevant department we were provided with the information below:

Thank you for your enquiries in relation to the Queensland Government’s Fairer Fares for South East Queensland package.

As you would be aware, on Sunday 12 June 2016 the Queensland Government announced the Fairer Fares reform package in response to the recommendations of the SEQ Fare Review Taskforce. The package delivers more affordable fares for the vast majority of public transport users in SEQ.

Following the announcement, TransLink Division within the Department of Transport and Main Roads commenced a five week community awareness program to inform the community about the Fairer Fares package and gather feedback to inform future approaches to public transport fares.
Information about Fairer Fares was made available on the Fare Review website (https://haveyoursay.translink.com.au/SEQ-Fare-Review) including the Fare Review Taskforce Report, the Government’s Fairer Fares for SEQ document, a fare comparison calculator, FAQs, case studies, fare schedules and zone maps.
Community members were encouraged to provide input into the future direction of fares in SEQ through an online survey which was open until midnight, Sunday 17 July 2016. There were 3,555 survey responses from across SEQ. The focus of the survey was gathering community feedback to guide the longer term approach to fares.
On Wednesday 31 August 2016, the Hon Stirling Hinchliffe, Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games, made a statement to the Queensland Parliament on the outcomes of the feedback process. A summary of the feedback from the community was provided in the Fairer Fares Community Engagement Report, which was released to the public via the Fare Review website on Monday 5 September 2016. A copy of the report is attached for your reference.
Previously, implementation of the Fairer Fares package was scheduled to occur in early 2017, however following the completion of all system updates and testing, the changes were implemented successfully on Monday 19 December 2016.
The following changes now apply across South East Queensland:
·         zones reduced from 23 to 8, with cheaper fares across all zones
·         the off-peak period extended through to 6am (currently 3am) with the off-peak discount retained at 20%
·         children aged five to 14 years inclusive travel free at the weekend on an orange child go card
·         50% per cent off journeys after eight journeys in a week with a go card (replacing the existing 'Nine and FREE' incentive)
·         free travel for seniors and pensioners after two journeys in a day (existing incentive retained).
As part of the Fairer Fares package, the Queensland Government also committed to introducing concession fares to people on the Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (job seekers) and Asylum Seekers. TransLink is working with the relevant Federal agencies to develop the frameworks and systems to support these new concession products, with implementation planned for 2017.
TransLink has commenced an awareness campaign across South East Queensland to inform existing customers about the fare and zone changes. If you have further questions about the changes, please contact TransLink on 13 12 30 or visit the TransLink website at translink.com.au, where detailed zone maps and fare tables can be viewed.

I trust this has been of assistance.

Kind regards

Jesse
TransLink Customer Relations

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