Fears footy fans will be thrown under bus
THE full cost of running the popular Footy Express public transport service will be shifted away from the taxpayer and on to people who use it, the State Government has confirmed, prompting fears football ticket prices will increase.
Transport Minister Stephan Knoll has guaranteed the service will continue in its current form for next year but says after this time, when the current contract expires, the Government will seek to recover the full cost of the service.
Negotiations are continuing as to whether the cost of any ongoing service would need to be picked up by fans when they board public transport, or through the Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority (SMA) and Adelaide and Port Adelaide football clubs.
It is not clear if the SMA and the clubs would absorb the additional cost of funding the service, or pass it on to fans through more expensive ticket prices or an increase in food and drink costs at the ground.
Mr Knoll said football transport should eventually cease to be taxpayer-subsidised, in the same way that concerts, basketball and soccer games are.
“We need to make sure that every sporting or concert event in SA pays its fair share,” he said. Mr Knoll said the Government was still negotiating the transition to full cost recovery with the SMA and was unsure what the funding arrangement would look like into the future.
Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said families would have to pay significantly more to go to the footy if the cost of the services was passed on to consumers by the clubs.
“Footy Express is a popular service, which makes a trip to the footy that little bit cheaper for fans, while also easing congestion on our roads on match days,” he said.
Adelaide and Port Adelaide football clubs and the SMA are awaiting for discussions with the Government.
Adelaide Crows Supporters Group assistant treasurer Colleen McKaye called for the service to remain part taxpayerfunded, saying it was getting “increasingly unaffordable” to go to the football.
Meanwhile, the Government confirmed yesterday it would not offer free public transport to thousands of South Australians attending today’s Credit Union Christmas Pageant. Free public transport into the city was offered to the about 330,000 who attended the Pageant last year, but a State Government spokesman said it was a one-off.