Bus commuters from south-east Queensland are going to be the first in Australia to enjoy tax free travel. They will save thousands of dollars of transport cost every year.
Some travelers will save up to $800 each year, thanks an overhaul in Brisbane’s public transport system that is worth $210 million. In December, the Department of Transport and Main Roads got a ruling for its employees. The ruling was in effect from April 1, 2011.
However, according to Palaszczuk government Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, there was a technical process involved to receive salary sacrifice benefit on public transport.
“The new Bus Travel Benefit smartcard, developed by TransLink, is an Australian first and will allow eligible bus commuters to save hundreds of dollars a year based on their annual earnings,” Hinchliffe said.
“TransLink has assured me the Bus Travel Benefit will be able to be rolled out in the coming months, which will mean more eligible commuters will save hundreds of dollars a year.”
The minister also says that he has been encouraging the department identify the technological solution. He is pleased that Queensland is going to be the first Australian state to allow tax free travel for bus commuters’ travel to and from work.
Hinchliffe is confident that the “fairer fares package” and the Bus Travel Benefit smartcard will motivate more people to travel by bus and leave their cars at home. Bus commuters will be able to use their pre-taxed income on the smartcard.
According to the minister, The Palaszczuk government backs the new initiative and encourages its employees to use public transport more. At the same time, it asks the Australian government to allow tax free travel for all public transport users.
Hinchliffe reminds that the smartcard is in pilot testing at the moment. He says that it is undergoing process trials. However, it will most likely be launched in 2016 itself, reports the Brisbane Times.