Free off peak travel “safe”

It is absolutely no surprise that the cost of “free” (ie we pay) off peak travel for pensioners has been increasing. reports:

During the four months to January, free trips increased from 585,842 to 667,594.

That meant monthly expenditure rising from $1.24m to $1.52m, and the total was $5.5m.

A continued increase in the uptake could stretch the budget beyond $18m in the first 12 months.

Making things free fucks up all rationality around incentives. Free tertiary courses led to scams all over the country. Free is doing the same.

operators are treating like a printing press. Every pensioner they can persuade to travel, they get paid for by the taxpayer. And the marginal cost of an extra passenger on an off peak service is basically zero. So they are spending all this money from the taxpayer on advertising to encourage even more pensioners to travel with them.

continues:

Questioned about this, Prime Minister said the scheme was obviously successful.

“We will be funding the increase,” he said.

That is not what I call a success. It is about as successful as the dopey schemes run by universities and student associations where they hand out free cash to students in “hardship”. And surprise, surprise – every year the scheme is so successful they need more money.

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