Commuters get slugged with rise

Story appeared in: Review | May 15th, 2017

COMMUTERS will pay more each week to travel by train, bus and ferry with the State Government increasing Opal fares from July 3.
Rejecting the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal's 2016 recommendation for an average fare rise of 4.2 per cent, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, said the Government was putting "commuters first" with just a 2.4 per cent increase.
Mr Constance said it was important price shocks weren't too drastic for commuters and noted that customer satisfaction for trains and buses was now at a high of 89 per cent.
"The impact on an average customer is roughly 50 cents a week, and means taking the train, bus, ferry or light rail is still a much cheaper option than driving," he said.
Gold Opal holders will still pay just $2.50 for all day travel on any day of the week, while adult, Child/Youth and Concession Opal card customers will also keep their 'transfer discount' when changing transport modes.
The State Opposition have been pressuring the Government to announce details of fare increases, with NSW Labor Leader and State MP for Auburn, Luke Foley, describing the fare freeze as "a political fix by a Liberal-National Government rushed out before the Federal election".
Also critical of the fare bump, Greens MP and Transport spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi said last year's fare freeze occurred at the same time as the Government "sneakily" removed the 'free trips after with eight trips' policy.
"It seems every announcement is either about undermining the benefits of Opal or another price rise," she said.
"Public transport performs a vital service, connecting people to their work, education, health care and communities.
:It must be affordable and accessible to all."

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Publication: Review | Section: News | Author: Kim Palmer | Story ID: 127694 | Viewcount: 5773