The money the government will save through Gong Shuttle fares represents the tiniest sliver of its key public transport services budget – 0.000006 per cent to be precise.
Even with fares, the government would still pay the bulk of the Gong Shuttle costs – in line with most bus services.
“Revenue received from fares on public transport represents around 25 per cent of the cost of operating services, with the remaining 75 per cent subsidised by the government,” a Transport for NSW spokesman said.
“In its current state the full cost of the Wollongong Shuttle is subsidised by taxpayers.”
It is understood the government is now spending $3 million a year to keep the free Gong Shuttle running.
Introducing fares would see that figure cut by 25 per cent – or $750,000.
According to the NSW budget in 2017-18 the government plans to spend $12 billion on public transport services across the state.
This is made up of $7.3 billion to maintain existing services and $4.7 billion to fund new projects to expand the network.
The $750,000 the government will save through Gong Shuttle fares represents 0.000006 per cent of that public transport budget.
Labor’s spokesman for the Illawarra Ryan Park said the government’s Gong Shuttle decision “makes absolutely no sense on any grounds”.
“The supposed cost saving is rubbish when you consider this government has blown hundreds of millions of dollars on transport projects in the Sydney CBD,” Mr Park said.
“It is time the government release the evidence they have used to try and justify this short-sighted decision.”