Business SA calls for free public transport to support struggling city businesses

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South Australia’s peak business body, Business SA, says some city businesses remain materially impacted by COVID-19 amid drastic falls in commuter confidence.

In a media statement released today, Business SA has called on the government to consider free public transport to and from the city for one month in support of struggling city traders.

They have also suggested making face masks mandatory on public transport across Adelaide to restore public confidence.

According to Department of Infrastructure and Transport data, public transport usage across metropolitan Adelaide is down 30 per cent on pre-COVID levels, and city bound transport patronage remains down a whopping 42 per cent.

Furthermore, the Roy Morgan Daily Movement analysis for Adelaide shows visitation to the CBD is 22 per cent below pre-COVID levels.

This trend, along with the fast-approaching end of JobKeeper on 28 March, shows city traders have genuine reason to be alarmed says Business SA CEO, Martin Haese.

“JobKeeper won’t last forever, the Government needs to be thinking about other ways it can support those industries and locations, such as the Adelaide CBD, that remain materially impacted by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions,” said Mr Haese.

“Declines in office occupancy, less workers in the city, less foot traffic and fewer international students have been a recipe for disaster for city businesses.

“While financial aid is welcomed, all options must be on the table. While vehicle traffic to the city is up 3.3 per cent, confidence in public transport is down,” he said.

Business SA says other Australian capital cities such as Sydney and Melbourne have adopted the mandated face masks and/or coverings on public transport. 

Other jurisdictions that have managed COVID-19 well such as Auckland, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong also have similar mask requirements in place.