Public transport in NSW is about to get a whole lot more expensive thanks to sweeping changes proposed by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). From July 1, there will likely be no more free weekly travel after eight journeys. In addition, fares will be going up 4.2 per cent each year for the next three years. Here's how much more you'll be paying after the price hikes.
In March, Sydney Trains made "Opal hacking" more difficult for commuters by increasing the number of transfers needed to make a journey. Now, it's preparing to scrap the free travel incentive altogether alongside other revenue raising measures.
Under IPART's final price determination for Sydney's public transport network, fares are set to increase by an average of 4.2 per cent per year for the next three years. On weekdays, the daily cap on adult Opal cards would also be increased from $15 to $18. (Seniors, meanwhile, will see their daily cap increase from $2.50 to $3.60.)
For full-time travellers, the biggest hit to the wallet will come via the abolition of free end-of-week trips. From July, you'll no longer get to travel for free after making eight journeys. Instead, commuters would receive a 50 per cent discount on any additional trips they make.
To take some of the sting out of the proposed changes, there's a $2 rebate for commuters who use more than one mode of transport in a single trip. Whoop de doo.
The NSW Government has not yet accepted IPART's recommendations but it's unlikely that they'll pass up the chance for additional revenue. If the price determination is passed unchanged, those who travel the furthest to work will be among the hardest hit.
If you're keen to find out how much more you'll pay, Finder has an excellent web app that does all the calculations for you. Be warned though: it can make for grim reading. Under the changes, I'll be paying an additional $200 per year but some unlucky commuters will be slogged an extra $100 per month.
The impending death of Opal hacking is something we're sure many of our readers will sorely lament -- particularly given the fact that the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure openly encouraged the practice during the transition from paper tickets.
Over the past few months, the NSW government has done an about-face on Opal hacking. Practically overnight it has begun to vilify the practice via official statements that contain phrases like “exploiting” and “improper earning”. It's like Nineteen Eighty-Four meets Thomas The Tank Engine. Only not nearly as cool as that sounds.
How much more (or less) will you be paying under the proposed Opal fare changes? Let us know in the comments!