17 May 2016

Opal card users fare hikes could cost extra $1000 after 1st of July

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Opal card users in New South Wales are in for some hefty price increases across the network.

The proposed changes will impact all Opal card users. IPART is proposing changes to the way all fares are calculated to weekly travel rewards, weekend caps for adults and children, and bigger off peak discounts.

“The modified recommendation would reduce the impact on commuters while still increasing the efficiency of the transport system, and also takes account of Transport for NSW feedback about the significant lead times needed to make major changes to the Opal system,” IPART said.
IPART has also backtracked on a recommendation, first announced in December, to introduce integrated fares for passengers who use multiple forms of transport in a single journey. Under the current system, some passengers face higher prices for jumping between transport modes.
Instead of new streamlined fares, IPART has recommended a $2 “rebate” for passengers who switch between different forms of transport to try and offset the increased costs.
“This replaces the earlier recommendation for integrated fares to be calculated as if they were single trips, like the fares for passengers changing from train to train, or bus to bus,” IPART said.
A comparison website has found the proposed changes to Opal card pricing could cost the average commuter more than $250 more a year. Finder’s weekly fare calculator factored in the independent pricing regulators proposal to scrap free travel after 8 trips, after comparing 12000 journeys found 68% of commuters would be worse off.

When will we know the exact impact on public transport costs?

Transport Minister Andrew Constance gave no immediate indication as to whether they will be accepted.
“The government is committed to building on the success of the Opal rollout by implementing a fare system that encourages efficient and greater use of public transport and is fair to customers.
“The Government will now consider IPART’s final report and respond in due course.” said Mr Constance.

Any reforms won’t be introduced until July but after one major Opal shakeup already this year when all paper tickets except for single fares was scrapped, the only guarantee is that more change is on the way. 

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