EXCLUSIVETRANSPORT Minister David Campbell faces a new commuter backlash over the introduction of the MyZone public transport ticket, with some suburban newsagents refusing to sell the ticket due to the ”paltry” commission paid by the government.Newsagents predict there will be ”black holes” in the MyZone network when it begins today, with some bus passengers expected to struggle to find outlets selling the ticket. Such difficulties will anger commuters, many of whom stand to save $17 a week by moving on to MyZone.More than 1300 shops are selling the tickets across Sydney but analysis by The Sun-Herald found distribution was heavily skewed to the city, the eastern suburbs and the inner west, where shops have stocked TravelTen tickets for years.The total number of sellers touted by the state government includes more than 300 CityRail stations, post offices and more than 300 sellers across the city, Central Station and Kings Cross area alone. There are 143 in the four kilometres between the city and Leichhardt.In stark contrast, there are just 34 outlets in the bus contract region between Bankstown and Penrith, operated by Veolia. There are just five newsagents selling tickets in the Forest area – which includes Forestville, Frenchs Forest, Belrose and Terrey Hills – operated by Forest Coach Lines.Veolia and Forest, which are contracted to the government, declined to comment.Adding to the inconvenience is the need for drivers to mark MyZone tickets with a pen or stamp because private buses are still awaiting delivery of the green ”dip” machines used by State Transit.The Newsagents Association of NSW & ACT said the cold reception to MyZone had its origins in a State Transit decision in 2007 to slash commission on TravelTens from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent.General manager Gary Monks said: ”At 2.5 per cent there’s hardly any incentive to carry the ticket, particularly because, by increasing the value of products in store, insurance bills go up as a consequence.”David Burdett, who runs a city newsagency, said: ”Most [newsagents would] be forced to take it up in the long run because people like a one-stop shop and will expect to be able to buy it.”Where newsagents have refused to stock the tickets, the government has drafted supermarkets and even petrol stations.Mr Campbell, who last week faced calls for his sacking over a 12-hour traffic jam on the F3, shrugged off the complaints.”It’s obviously in the public interest for agents to sell MyZone tickets but there are also good commercial reasons,” he said. ”Selling MyZone tickets can help retailers attract new customers to their business, who often purchase other products.”Shadow transport spokeswoman Gladys Berejiklian said MyZone took away any incentive to buy weekly and monthly tickets, which will add to queues on popular days such as Mondays.”This is a clumsy paper-based system when we should have had an electronic ticket 10 years ago,” she said.
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