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TO ENCOURAGE TOURISTS

Popularisation of Strait Service rrr State Organisations Take Action

Reduced Passenger Fares Desired

Advantage to Company Emphasised :

United action was decided on by a conference of repre- . sentatives of organisations throughout the State which met at the Launceston Marine Board Office yesterday with a view to persuading the management of shipping companies that

it is in their interests, as a business proposition, to reduce .. passenger fares and freights on motor-cars on steamers in '

the Bass Strait; service. It was agreed to suggest that a , . ! induction be made in fares, including charges on motor-cars and cycles when accompanied by the owners, that excursion

fares operate more frequently, and that parties be encour- . ' . . aged to travel in first saloon accommodation by the allowance of concessions. The belief was expressed that reduced fares would mean increased passenger trade.

A sub-committee was appointed to present the case for . . reduced fares to the representatives of the shipping com-

panies. As a gesture pf good faith it was resolved that it be 7 a recommendation to the Marine Boards in Tasmania that

they consider the reduction of wharfage charges on motor- ;r. cars and the poll tax on passengers. Representatives of .

Marine Boards present received the suggestion favourably. .

STATE UNITED Submission of Case

Fares Too High

The Master Warden. o£ the Launces- ton Marine Board (Mr. F. Mooro) pre- sided, and public bodies represented were:-Hobart City Council (tho Lord Mayor, Mr. J. J. Wlgnall), Hobart Chamber ot Commerce (Mr. V. L Cham- bers), Hobart Marine Board (tho Mas- ter Warden, Mr. J. H. Johnston), Boya] Autocar. Club of Tasmania (Mr. F. H. Stephens), Marine Board oí Mersey (the Master Wardon (Mr. G. C. Rudgo), Mt. Lyell Tourist Association (Mr. W. Hart), Leven Harbour Trust (the chair- man, Mr. E. Hobbs), Marine Board of. Burnie (the Master Warden, Mr. A. K. McGaw), North-western- Tourist and Progress Association (Mr. J.. N. Bent- ley), Lauheeston City Council (Alder- man A. E. Wyett), Launceston Chamber

[ of Commerce (Mr. Á. C. Ferrall), Laun-

ceston 50,000 League (Mr. H. J. Solo- mon), Northern Tasmanian Tourist As- sociation (Mr. F. Smithies), Commer- cial Travellers' Association (Mr. J. L. D. Mallinson), Launceston Trades Hall Council (Mr. F. W. Hall and Mr. H. C. Barnard, M.H.H.).

The following case, which it.is pro- posed to submit to the management ot the shipping companies concerned, was read by Mr. Solomon:

"An excellent new service has been inaugurated by tho Taroona and Nair- ana, and as far as comfort and speed of travel ls concerned Tasmania Is well served. But lt is felt that a revision ot the fares charged is justifiable. The tendency throughout the world ls to ' improve and cheapen travel facilities by land and air, as well as by sea. The post few years have aeon reductions in' the price of most things in common use. Incomes, too, have decreased This includes tho rates of pay to the crew ot tho vessel, and, Incidentally, tho Taroona's manning scale ls well below that of the Nairana, and about equal to that of the Loongana. Yet fares re- main at their peak level. This means tliut, when measured in commodities, a journey to ur from Melbourne costs moro to-day than ever before

"There is a second reason why a re- duction of fares may bo considered just. Tasmania is spending a largo amount of money in tourist publicity and will be spending more. To a great extent this ls freo advertisement for the steam- er service, Raliways throughuot Aus- tralia are offering tourists special fares for inter-State trafile, as a matter oj proved policy. Tho steamship com- pany* as our main inter-Stato link, oc- cupies a position analogous to that .of the inter-State railways on tho main- land. Yet the only excursion fares so far offered aro' the small reductions, at Easter. Wo submit, as . u business proposition, that the company may ex- pect increased trade and profits if the reduction is granted.

MIDDLE-CLASS TRAFFIC.

"First, the competition of air services must be considered. . Already, even with no competition between airlines, the difference in fares between the aero- plane and first saloon on the Taroona is relatively small. This fact must Increasingly detract from tho number of steamer passengers if the situation remains unaltered. The position may be counteracted in either, or both, of two ways: (a) substantial reduction of first-class fares to counterbalance the advantages of swift air transport; (b) reduction of second-class fares to fos- ter a middle-class tourist traffic. This second point cannot be too strongly stressed. To the small wage earner released for a short annual holiday and With limited resources, an Inter-State trip,-particularly by sea, has great at- tractions. At present it is beyond his means to visit Tasmania. Our' com- mittee firmly believes that attention to this point would vastly increase the volume of tourist trade.

We contend also that an all-round reduction in fares would result in a large increase in traffic.

CONCESSIONS MEAN INCREASE.

"The greatest rates of increase ap- pear in tho figures, both inward and outward, of the periods January to June in each year since 1031, and figures for the year 1935, although incomplete, show a definite further Increase. Since this portion of the year (January to June) includes Easter, In respect ot which excursion fares have operated during theso latter years, it is reason- able to assume that these reduced fares have already resulted in a definite in- crease in traffic. By way of comparison and justification we cite two facts: (a) fares from Hobart to Sydney were re- duced by 12J per cent., wo believe, in 1932; (b) the fares on the Wolllngton Lyttelton service in Nov.- Zealand, whfch is maintained by similar or larger- ships, is fl 7s. Gd. saloon and £1 steerage. This does not include berths or meals. A similar scheme might be

worked hore; apparontly most pas-! sengers on tho Now Zealand ser- vice avail themselves of tho facilities offered, since the Rangltlra and Walline (Welllngton-Lyttelton ferries), carry larger staffs of stewards, etc., than tho Taroona or Nairana. One point has not yet beon touched. The freight on motor cars accompanied by their passengers has frequently been commented on, and has operated to deter parties of tourists from visiting Tasmania with their own cars.

We therefore submit the following suggestions:

(1) Reduction of fares, including charges on cars and cycles, when ac- companied by owners;

(2) Excursion fares on more fre- quent occasions;

(3) Encouragement to parties, especially saloon passengers, by con- cessions to bona fido parties of four or six, e.g., reduced or free carriage of motor vehicles.

"Tho committeo responsible for tho I preparation of this Case desires to stress that our object Is tho increase of pas- senger traffic to and from Tasmania. Wo bellovo that reduced fares on the lines suggested will mean an increase in tho passenger trade; no sacrifice but probable gain on the part of tho steam- ship company; and a step towards one of Tasmania's greatest needs, a dally service by steamer to tho mainland."

COMPARISON OF FARES.

Mr. Solomon moved, and Mr. Barn- ard seconded: -

That the caso bo adopted for pre- sentation to the shipping company.

Mr. Chambers said that any stops;-.,.'... that could be talton to improve and .. . cheapen travel facilities would have .

his Chamber's support. He contended .. . that the fares charged on the Bas3, ,, Strait service were higher, by com

parison, than those charged on other, w

Australian coastal services_The ; dis-^...r. tance from Melbourne to Launceston, -

he said, was 275 miles, and the first [',\... saloon faro was £2 Ss. Melbourne to..

Burnie was 215 miles, and the faro tho. ..,,? same. Melbourne to Sydney was 587 > . - miles, more than twice tho distance,; vj

and the faro was £4 5s. Tho distance', i'V.

from Melbourne to Adelaide was 615

miles, and the faro £4 5s. Sydney to,.,,'7. Brisbane was 490 miles, and tho fare , - ; was £4 17s. The matter must be treat- ;'

ed as a business proposition, he said; ', '.,

and lt.must bo shown that the com-

pany could expect Increased trado and,,"" profits as a result of reduced fares. On

behalf of the Royal Autocar Club of .,, Tasmania ho said the high freights on'. motor-cars were hampering tho tourist Industry. Hq suggested that motor;

cara be transported free of charge, or.. ?.' at a very much reduced freight, or that

charges should bo In accordance, with . t the number of passengers travelling, with the cars.

GOVERNMENT ACTION URGED.

The Lord.Mayor of Hobart said there could be no question that cheaper pas

senger fares and rates of freight would " confer'Inestimable benefit upon Tos-. ,, mania. The matter, to his mind, was.

however, of such Importance, and In-, , volved so many factors, that the State ? - Government, through Its Tourist De-

partment, should bo regarded as tho',./, proper authority to handle it. The best" j they could do was to supply tho Gov-'"' ].' ernment with their views, and any use- " fui information that persons directly

affected could make available. It would : then rest with thc State Government to !'

take up tho matter with the Common-" ''" wealth Government, which, as tho auth

ority subsidising tho Bass Strait ser-'"' vice, had some control. The greatest :

inducement should be held out to rest- . 1 dents of all the States to travel within,*.' ; tho borders of tho Commonwealth.1 - . Thoro was no question that the cost .'?J of travel was tho predominating ono " '

affecting tho movements of persons V

I within the Commonwealth. Another''

i Important question was tho paramount',".'.

need of interchange of population a» affecting future generations. In regard to passenger fares, they had had so.mv

relief slnco thc British steamers began ^ carrying passengers between Sydney and Hobart. For example, tho saloon

return fare between Sydney and Mo-'.¡;.',',

bart, which was £5 when tho Naylga-, tion Act came into force in 192 li and by stages was Increased to £ ll 10s, was now £8'10s.

EXTENT OF TASMANIAN TRADE.

"In spite of all the.disadvantages, in- cluding tho cost ot out-of-date steam- ers, the passenger traffic between Tas- mania and the mainland is greater than the coastal trafilo by sea to and from any of the other States, excopt Vic- toria," said Mr. Wignall. "It may in- terest you to know that, taking the year 1932, the number of passengers travel- ling between Tasmania and tho main- land was 03,474, compared with only 42,935 coastal passengers by sea carried to and from Queensland, South Austra- ' Ha, and West Australia combined.. Tho number of passengers carried in 1930 by the transcontinental railway linc, Which cost £7,800,000 to build, was only 29,000, compared with 81,000 who travelled in that year between the main- land and Tasmania.

"The .subsidy which the Common- wealth is paying for the Bass Strait service is equal to 5 per cent, on ¡E1, 000,000, and it is for a period of 10 years.* In the absence of information to tho contrary, one would Imagine that there, was a margin for somo reduction in fares and rates of freight."

The Lord Mayor dealt at length with anomalies In freight charges, and sug- gested that a small sub-committee be appointed to collect particulars of tho effect of tho prevailing freights on In- dustry, if that had not been done, and also to prepare a case for tho reduction of fares, so that the whole matter might be referred for action to tho Stato Go- vernment, for action, perhaps through its Tourist Department, which prob- ably itself was In possession pf valu- able information.

Messrs. Johnston, Stephens and Hobbs supported tho motion.

Mr. McGaw said'a 'small reduction

would not have much effect. It should, be possible for tho Marine Boards to re-

duce their charges for wharfage on. tourists' motor cars.

CONCESSIONS AT WRONG TIME.

Mr. Budge urged that attention: should be given also to charges incur- red within t|io Stato, and he instanced a case in which he landed in Launceston recently and it cost him between 5s and- es to get from tho wharf to tho centre

of tho city. Ho believed that tho ship-., ping company made reductions for ex- cursions at tho wrong times of the year.' The company could fill its ships at Christmas and Easter. What there- fore was the use of reducing fares when they could not cope with the trafile? If fares were reduced In slack periods lt would be much better.

Mr. Mallinson suggested that meals should bo made optional on tho Bass Strait steamers.

Mr. Chambers added to his remarks concerning the fares charged by steam- er between mainland capitals, that Ho- bart was worse off than any Australian capital, becauso they had to take into, consideration the extra charge of £1 78 6d, single fare, between Launceston and Hobart.

Mr. Johnston said the people of Aus- tralia had never been so travel-minded as to-day.

Mr. Mallinson suggested that tho co- operation of the Tasmanian Govern- ment bo secured to bring about a

"through" fare from Hobart to Mel- ,

bourne.

Tho motion was agreed to, and Messrs. Solomon, Barnard, McGaw and Itudg» were appointed a sub-committee to handle tho matter, with power to act.

WHARFAGE CHARGES.

Mr. Smithies moved:

That this conference recommends tho Marine Boards of Launceston, Devonport, Burnie and Hobart to con- sider the matter of reducing thu wharfage on motor cars and tho poll tax on passengers.

Mr. Solomon seconded.

The chairman said he was in sym- pathy with the motion. Ho promised ,to bring the matter before his Board on Thursday next, and ho thought it would bo received favourably.

Mr. Rudgo suggested that nil tho Marine Bourds endeavour to arrange the wharfage rate at, the samo figure.

The motion was agreed to.

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