Opal fares capped at CPI
The NSW Government today confirmed Opal fares will not increase to the full extent recommended by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). Instead, fares will only be adjusted in line with inflation.
From 2 July, Opal fares will increase by 2.2 per cent to mirror CPI not IPART’s recommended annual increase of 4.2 per cent.
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the NSW Government was focused on keeping downward pressure on the cost of living and was therefore not introducing the inflated prices recommended by IPART in 2016.
“Since the introduction of OPAL in 2012, this Government has kept the fares low with a five year fare freeze and then induction of an adjustment to fares by CPI only last year, and again this coming financial year,” Mr Constance said.
“As a government, we don’t support IPART’s recommended average annual increase of 4.2 per cent as we believe it’s more important to put commuters first and these changes show that we are continuing to do so.
“Earlier this year we also reduced all regional bus fares by 30 per cent, so any part of the state that don’t have the OPAL ticketing system have already received a discount on their bus fares.
“The reality is, over the 16 years while Labor were in Government in NSW not only did they fail to introduce an electronic ticketing system, they also increased public transport fares by 87 per cent,” Mr Constance said.
Gold Opal will not be adjusted at all and will remain at $2.50 for all day travel any day of the week.
The popular Transfer Discount remains for both Adult Opal and concession Opal card customers.
“While we’ve made plenty of improvements to public transport and we’re investing record amounts in transport infrastructure, including building the brand new Sydney Metro system, we are also focused on keeping fares affordable.”
Following are some sample CPI changes:
New price (CPI adjusted)
Penrith to Town Hall
Blacktown to Baulkham Hills
Manly to Circular Quay
Dulwich Hill to Pyrmont Bay
“The average impact on customers is roughly 39 cents a week, which means catching public transport is still a much cheaper option than driving,” Mr Constance said.
The CPI adjustments mean the following changes to daily and weekly caps:
Weekday & Saturday
“Opal remains the most affordable way for regular travellers to get around, with incentives such as the weekly travel reward, the transfer discount, the $2.70 Sunday cap for Adults and daily reduced fares for Concession and Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card users, including the $2.50 daily cap for Gold Opal cards.”
The transfer discount has resulted in $160 million being returned to the pockets of customers since it was introduced in September 2016.
By using Gold Opal, about 500,000 NSW pensioners are estimated to save around $33 million annually compared to a regular concession fare cap.
In 2018, Opal is geographically the world’s largest electronic ticketing system, covering 40,000 square kilometres, 310 train stations, 44 wharves, 23 light rail stops and 39,599 bus stops.
“We’re continuing to see increased demand across all modes of transport with more than 3.7 million Opal Cards being used to complete more than 56 million trips a month and an average of 13 million trips a week.
“Since 2011 we have introduced over 30,000 additional weekly public transport services and still managed to keep fares low while investing billions in new rail lines and we also have brand new trains on the way to increase reliability and services,” Mr Constance said.