Greens NSW MP and Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has said that NSW public transport users will be worse off on 1 January when paper tickets are removed and thousands of commuters forced onto Opal. She cites continuing problems of expensive surcharges, ongoing lack of top-up machines, and the ongoing of accessibility of ticketing.
Dr Faruqi said:
“On 1 January, thousands of people will be forced onto a ticketing system with systemic and obvious problems that have not been adequately addressed.
“The government has promised 350 top-up machines by early 2016, but as of the last days of 2015, machines are advertised as only available at fewer than 100 stations or interchanges. Where are the rest, and why aren’t they here in time for the ticket removal? The government has had years to sort this out.
“Transport Minister Constance needs to seriously look at the problem of excessive surcharging. From Friday, plenty more people will need to use Opal retailers, which means more people getting slugged 10%, 20%, or even 40% fees on their top-ups when they pay by card.
“A good public transport system gives people options and provides accessibility for everyone. It’s ridiculous that the long-awaited Opal system still leaves plenty of people worse off,” she said.