Greens NSW MP and Transport Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has said that the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) report into public transport fares for Sydney is a mixed bag for commuters.
The report has recommended an integrated multi-mode fare system, which would no longer penalise people taking multiple forms of public transport, such as a bus and a train to get to their final destination. This has been a key Greens criticism of the Opal system. The report also recommends a further discount to off-peak fares.
But the report has also recommended the end of the 8 trip weekly cap, increasing the $2.50 cap for the Gold Opal Card, and changes to the weekend cap.
Dr Faruqi said:
“Today’s report is a real mixed bag for commuters. Integrated multi-mode fares are a no-brainer and should’ve been there from the start. People should not be penalised for using multiple modes of transport to get to their final destination.
“But the report has some concerning recommendations that would make public transport more expensive. For example, seniors would no longer be eligible for Gold Opal cards and the cost for pensioners will increase from $2.50 to $3.60 and keep going up. This seems like a mean spirited way to generate revenue from some of the most vulnerable public transport users.
“There are some measures that could actually discourage people from using public transport on weekends, when we know that weekend car congestion is getting worse. The removal of the free travel after 8 trips and its replacement with a complicated fare credit system could discourage people who currently travel on the weekend for free having done their minimum trips during the week.
“The report also looks at increasing fares for train trips for long distance commuters at peak times, which seems counter-intuitive to encouraging public transport usage.
“The report also canvasses removing the $2.50 cap on Sunday fares and putting a higher cap on Saturday and Sunday. What we should be looking at is a $2.50 cap on both Saturday and Sunday to give people more incentive to use public transport,” Dr Faruqi said.