Well, yes. We could take concession fares away from pensioners, you spectacularly principled and not in any way utterly selfish and monstrous philanthropists of the “Tourism and Transport Forum”.
But I’ve got an even better idea.
First, we ignore everything you ever say for the rest of your nasty organisation’s pointless and unfortunate existence. We leave concession fares intact, and apologise to these struggling people for your unnecessarily mean-spirited suggestion. (I suppose we’re partly to blame for giving you the impression that we’re the sort of community that would respond positively to such utter bastardry.)
Then we remove “zones” from the public transport system, since they only punish the poorer inhabitants of outer Melbourne for not being able to afford to live in the much-better-served inner city. We expand the rail network to the many suburbs that don’t have any access despite growing populations and the fact that we simply can’t manage any more cars commuting to the city. We rebuild the railway lines to the regional centres that no longer have them, and we run decent reliable services to each. (By making it possible to commute from regional centres, we slightly lessen the demand on housing in Melbourne, and slightly address the housing affordability problem.)
And we build all of this infrastructure with public money (possibly deficit spending) because, for a number of reasons – from the unsustainability of growth on the roads, to the finite nature of the world’s oil supply, to tackling climate change – it’s imperative that we encourage people out of their cars and onto our trains and trams. Public transport is a natural monopoly; it’s not something we can leave up to the wondrous “free market”. As the last thirty years have demonstrated. So we fund it through our taxes, as an important public service.
And there’s no need to punish the poorest Victorians, concession-card holders, in order to do it.