Use it or lose it: 50 cents to catch bus, train, ferry

Commuters will pay just 50 cents to travel anywhere in Queensland on public transport, as part of a bold initiative leading up to the state election.

Under the six-month trial, reduced fares will be available on all Translink services from August 5, however, it won't apply to privately-owned transport services.

The government is hoping the dirt-cheap train, bus and ferry fares will encourage more people to leave their cars at home, with public transport usage hovering around 13 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

Translink Buses
It's hoped more people will leave their cars at home to boost numbers on public transport. (Regi Varghese/AAP PHOTOS)

The 50-cent fares will apply to all commuters, meaning concession card holders who already have access to reduced ticket prices will see their fares further reduced.

The government says the reduced prices will also have a "disinflationary effect".

Queensland Premier Steven Miles says the $150 million six-month trial will save commuters thousands of dollars in fares, fuel and parking costs.

"Public transport usage has never returned to its pre-COVID levels and that's one of the things contributing to congestion, particularly in the southeast," Mr Miles told reporters in Mango Hill on Sunday.

"We're hoping that this trial of 50-cent fares will give people a reason to rethink their habits."

The Queensland election will be held on October 26 - almost 13 weeks after the new fares come into effect - with the Labor government polling behind the opposition.

If enough Queenslanders take advantage of the reduced fares the trial could become permanent, with the premier saying it will be a "good result" if services became crowded.

"This is use it or lose it," Mr Miles said.

"If this is effective, if this reduces congestion and sees lots of people get back on public transport then obviously we'll consider making it permanent."

The Liberal National Party supports the trial but Deputy Opposition Leader Jarrod Bleijie called on the government to reveal whether extra services would be added to the network to cope with extra demand.

"Queenslanders are very supportive of getting additional cost-of-living relief because they are struggling at the moment but they're also cynical in that it runs out just after the election," Mr Bleijie said.

"This government is so desperate to cling to power, they will do and say anything to get re-elected."

RACQ chief executive David Carter threw this support behind the trial, saying it will help boost public transport usage.

"We hope it allows us to set up something more permanent that will enable more people to use the public transport network around particularly the southeast and get congestion down while the infrastructure catches up," he said.

It also has support from the Rail Tram and Bus Union.

Greens MP Amy MacMahon says the government got the idea from her party and is pushing for the trial to become permanent.

"At 50c per trip, it'll be cheaper to just switch off the fare machines thanks to Labor's expensive privatised ticketing system," Ms MacMahon said.

However, Mr Miles has ruled out making transport entirely free as the government still wants people to tap on and off so it can collect data on journeys.