Bus fare hike criticised

‘It’s got to the point where the ordinary West Australian will find it hard to holiday there,’ Charter Boat Operator Association of WA president Rick Reid said.

His members were charged an extra $16 for each person they took to the island last year.

A month ago, the RIA increased its fares on its new Island Explorer bus service, which replaced the former Bayseeker operation.

The daily family ticket for two adults and two children on the bus rose from $30 to $50.

A single adult fare is now $20 (previously $14) and concessions are up to $16 ($11). Children’s tickets have gone from $6 to $12.

The RIA implemented the increase in a bid to offset the annual $4 million shortfall to run the island, which the State Government offsets.

An RIA spokeswoman defended the bus fare hike, saying it had been ‘benchmarked with other holiday destinations and was deemed cheaper comparatively’.

She said the new service took visitors to the western end of the island, allowing access to 63 beaches and 20 bays.

Reducing other costs to visit the island included discounted accommodation and ferry tickets throughout the year.

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said: ‘I will raise the issue of these increases when (the) CPI is 2.6 per cent. It’s difficult to justify a rise of that magnitude.’

She said while she understood the RIA had a difficult job of managing an A-Class reserve and maintaining heritage buildings on the island, regulations may restrict any price rises.

See Smithy’s View, Page 9