State’s public transport set for fee hike

The cost to use NSW’s Opal Card operated public transport system will rise in cost from July 1. Picture: NewsWire/ David Swift

Opal card fares will increase by an average of 3.6 per cent from July 1, in the second pricing change to hit NSW commuters over the last 12 months.

Train and metro trips will increase a maximum of 49 cents, fares on bus the light rail services will increase by 27 cents at the most, while ferry trips will increase by 43 cents.

Fare caps for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays will also increase by 45 cents from $8.90 to $9.35 for adults, and rise from $4.45 to $4.65 for concession-card holders.

The government says the average weekly fare increase for regular users should be less than $1 a week through existing weekly caps and discounts, with the maximum weekly fare cap for adult customers will remain at $50, and $25 for child/ youth and concession card holders.

However for someone who travels into Penrith to Town Hall on three, weekday peak-time return trips a week, their fare will rise by 38 cents a trip, or $2.28 for their week of travel. Despite this their total weekly spend of $48.18 means they won’t qualify for the $50 maximum weekly cap.

Opal Card fares shouldn’t increase by more than $1 for regular users of the state’s public transport system. NSW. Picture: NewsWire/ Monique Harmer

Transport for NSW secretary Josh Murray said the changes were in-line with annual inflation movement, and would help fund improvements of the public transport system.

“Each year, fares are reviewed to ensure the network can continue to operate sustainably, keeping up with increased operating costs including fuel, electricity, maintenance, and staffing,” said Mr Murray.

“Public and active transport remain some of the most affordable ways to get around. These increases will ensure Transport for NSW is able to continue to invest in delivering reliable services for passengers.”

Bus trips will increase by a maximum of 27 cents. Picture: NewsWire/ Damian Shaw

Under determinations from the independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), the government is able to increase Opal card fares by an average of 5 per cent a year between 2020 to 2024.

In October, the government replaced the Weekly Travel Reward, which allowed commuters to access half-priced travel after reaching eight paid trips, with extending the weekend discounted travel cap to include Fridays as well.

The was due to a changing public transport behaviour of customers, with TfNSW stating the “proportion of customers accessing this travel reward in recent years has significantly decreased”.