Illawarra fares to double under proposed Opal Card changes

Some Illawarra commuters would see their weekly train fares almost double under proposed changes to the Opal card, according to the NRMA.

In December, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) released a series of recommendations to the public transport fare structure.

One of these was to scrap the Opal card’s current offer of free travel after eight trips have been made.

Instead, commuters would be retrospectively charged for their 10 most expensive trips over a week and credited for any other trips made.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance has repeatedly said that no decision about fares will be made until later this year

According to an NRMA submission, if this proposed change was introduced by Mr Constance it would severely impact those commuters in the Illawarra with Opal cards who travelled to Sydney for work.

Coalcliff commuters would be hardest hit, with their weekly travel fares jumping by $18.32 – an increase of 45 per cent.

Coalcliff commuters would be hardest hit, with their weekly travel fares jumping by $18.32 – an increase of 45 per cent.

Helensburgh, Otford and Stanwell Park commuters would see their fares rise by 44.5 per cent a week.

Commuters from North Wollongong to Albion Park could expect to have their fares jump by 25 per cent.

The NRMA is also concerned the Adult Opal card’s proposed yearly increases are greater than inflation.

NRMA’s Illawarra director Marisa Mastroianni said increasing the cost to commuters ran the risk of making rail travel an unattractive option.

“Local commuters already spend more than two hours a day sitting on public transport between home in the Illawarra region and the city,” Ms Mastroianni said.

“Hiking up their public transport fares would only discourage them from using the train system and encourage them to join the already congested roads as motorists.”


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