It's Official: No More Free Travel On NSW Transport

The NSW government has accepted the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART)'s proposal to kill off free trips on Opal. From June 1, you'll no longer receive free trips on public transport after completing eight journeys in one week. Instead, a 50% discount will be offered for each additional trip. Boo-urns.

In a decision that will surprise no-one, the NSW government has greenlit the IPART's recommendation to scrap free travel for customers who complete eight journeys in a week. From June 1, commuters will instead receive a 50% discount on fares after eight paid journeys in a week.

The removal of the free travel incentive means all full-time workers are significantly worse off than before Opal was introduced. (Paper weekly tickets used to receive a significant discount compared to return and single fares.)

According to NSW transport minister Andrew Constance, around 70% of customers were not reaching the reward at the end of each week.

“By offering half price fares, we’ll still provide an incentive to use public transport but the new reward strikes a balance to allow a more sustainable system,” Constance said in a statement.

There also some slightly good news: Sydney Trains will not increase the price of fares as recommended by IPART. For the next year at least, single fares and the fare bands that determine the fare for distance travelled will remain unchanged.

Daily fare caps for seniors and adults will also remain unchanged at $2.50 and $15, respectively. The 30% discount for off-peak travel also stays in place.

As we reported last week, there's also a new $2 “transfer discount” for switching transport modes between trains, buses, ferries and light rail. The discount kicks in if an Opal user changes transport modes within 60 minutes.

This means that part-time employees who use multiple modes of public transport to get to work will be better off come July 1. The amount of save will largely depend on where you live and the transport route you take.

As we've said in the past, the death of free Opal travel is a bit of a betrayal by the NSW government. When the new payment system replaced tickets, the ability to score free trips was one the chief selling points that was proffered to the public. Commuters were actively encouraged to "find the savings" and "beat the system". Now, this incentive is gone.

Whether this will put an end to "Opal hacking" — where commuters clock up unnecessary trips to get the discount faster — remains to be seen. Is a 50% discount is still worth gaming the system for? Time will tell, we guess.


Comments

    So there's no questions now. it's pretty clear that the Opal scheme was a massive scam planed in advance, Thank you NSW government, what a great way to encourage people to use the public transport

      Public transport is still at least half the price of driving a car and parking it somewhere and paying for parking+tolls. Even with the free travel incentive gone you're still massively ahead.

        People prefer, not in the case of Sydney, to use the public transport because it's cheap and fast. Sydney is expensive and slow.

        As an example Annandale to Bondi Junction. 20mins drive vs 1 hour on public transport. Do it cheap or efficient, 2 hours in public transport for going 10km away are just a joke.

    Thanks NSW govt, for taking away fun trips to the city on weekends.

    I bet $2.50 Sundays will be gone in 12 months time

    Does anyone honestly believe that the I in IPART stands for independent??? OK IPART, I've made you independent but if you don't do what I ask, I'll fire you! Independence my arse!!!

    Just did some sums (I can either walk + train, bus + train, or bus only) for my commute.

    Old system - MyMulti2 was $55 per week.

    Original Opal - at face value, my cost increased to $60 per week (4 days @ $15 cap)
    I found if I do bus trips on Monday & Tuesday during the day I hit the 8 trip cap for $30 (sometimes less) and have free travel Wed-Sun.
    If I took bus only all week (standing up lots) my cost would be $36 - so better to do the extra trips mon+tues.

    Ipart Opal - Bus+Train now priced roughly the same as walk+train, which is nice. Face value (5 days commute only) is now $59.04.
    Bus only is now $40.50
    My current plan (8 trips by Tuesday, then 1/2 price Wed-Sun) becomes $49.68. Is it worth it for ~$10 to do an extra 4 bus trips on Mon+Tues?

    Looks like either I pay $10 more and stand up a lot on buses, or pay $20 more for the exact same thing I do today, or $30 more and stop fighting the system.

    Disappointed, but really just back to where we were 2 years ago, unfortunately. I can see that some people who have a choice might take less public transit, Most of us will just suck it up.

    At least they didn't increase the daily cap to $18 (weekly to $72). That would hurt even more.

    The $2 transfer discount is a big deal for me. I was previously paying $2.10 + $3.38 = $5.48 for each trip (Potts Point to North Sydney), OR catching a bus from Town Hall instead of a train - which is terrible.

    Now I think I will save $23.50 a week ($2 discount x twice a day x five days a week + 50% off Friday AM and Friday PM), instead of saving $10.96 (5.48 x Friday AM and Friday PM).

    Does that sound right?

    Last edited 19/05/16 1:17 pm

    It's September 5th according to Opal website, not June 1st.

    "I want people to beat the system ... I want people to find the savings because they are there to be had" Gladys Berejiklian said

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