Illawarra rail commuters have just over three months to enjoy free Opal travel after eight trips before the goverment axes it.
But they won’t see their fares rise either – and pensioners won’t pay more than $2.50 a day to travel anywhere on the network
Around 70 per cent of customers are not reaching the reward, meaning a majority of customers aren’t receiving any benefit.Andrew Constance
Transport Minister Andrew Constance announced on Thursday that commuters will no longer be able to travel for free after making eight journeys in a week.
Instead, he adopted an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) recommendation that all trips after the first eight are half price.
The change – which will cost some Illawarra commuters almost $400 a year – comes into force on September 5.
“Around 70 per cent of customers are not reaching the reward, meaning a majority of customers aren’t receiving any benefit,” Mr Constance said.
“By offering half-price fares, we’ll still provide an incentive to use public transport but the new reward strikes a balance to allow a more sustainable system.”
Offsetting this, Mr Constance promised no fare increases until the end of the 2016-17 financial year.
He also introduced a $2 “transfer discount” that would apply to those changing transport modes – such as getting off a train and catching a bus.
Children and pensioners will receive a $1 discount.
Previously commuters travelling on more than one mode were charged full price for the second fare.
“This penalty is simply a disincentive to multi-mode travel, even if the transfer is more practical and gets you to your destination faster,” Mr Constance said.
Mr Constance said he would not be adopting IPART’s recommendation to increase the Gold Opal card to $3.60.
“I can confirm today the daily fare cap for our seniors and pensioners will be kept at $2.50,” he said.
“We’re also keeping the Adult Opal card daily fare cap at $15 and weekly fare cap at $60. That means people who travel long distances and reach the cap won’t be paying more for their commutes.”