* Early Bird program to be expanded to all metro lines * Quarter or users changed plans to take advantage * Passengers can save 'up to $47-per-fortnight' ALL of Melbourne's trains will be free before 7am in a bid to ease crowding on the network. After a trial of the free Early Bird travel on two lines, which began in October, the State Government today said it would expand the program for all 15 metropolitan lines, starting on March 31. Passengers must arrive at their destination by 7am, between Monday to Friday, for their travel to be free. Victorian Premier John Brumby said the trial on the Frankston and Sydenham lines showed more than a quarter of passengers who travel before 7am altered their travel times to take advantage of the initiative. "Roll-out of the Early Bird is the next step in our commitment to find new and innovative ways to address the unprecedented patronage growth we are experiencing across the network,'' Mr Brumby said.
With the prospect of higher interest rates on the cards you should be searching high and low for the cheapest home loan rate you can get. If it is a new loan you're after, it is hard to beat the "headline" rates being offered by the mostly non-bank online providers which, at first glance, can be a whole basis point behind the current variable rates being charged by the big four banks. At the time of going to press - remember financial markets are volatile right now and variable rates are on the rise - the cheapest variable rate online home loan on offer was RateBuster's 7.65 per cent, compared to ANZ's 8.77 per cent. According to loan comparer Infochoice, there are plenty of cheaper loan options (see tables below). Where they might sting is in the application or termination fees and with the flexibility they offer. Cheap but not cheerful Remembering that it was the cheap "teaser rates" offered to thousands of new borrowers in the United States that playe