Thousands of commuters will fork out up to $700 extra a year in train fares, under another looming Opal fare hike.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said fares would go up in 2017, after the Liberal National Government froze them last year to help its colleagues get through the Federal Election.
But Minister Constance is refusing to say when exactly the hikes will kick in- following proposed increases from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.
Commuters travelling from Penrith to Central by train five-days-a-week will pay an extra $720 a year and those travelling from Parramatta to Town Hall will pay $505 more a year (see table) under the expected rises.
Fares already went up by 12.5 per cent in September when Minister Constance removed the free journeys when commuters took eight trips.
IPART had approved three years of fare increases to 2018 including:
• Senior’s Gold Card daily cap from $2.50 to $4;
• Weekly Travel Cap from $60 to $72; and
• Daily Cap from $15 to $20.
Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley
“The so-called “fare freeze” was a political fix by a Liberal-National Government rushed out before the Federal election.
“It didn’t stop fares going up for five day a week commuters. And now people who are already having to cope with the rising costs of living are in for a massive fare increase.
“The Berejiklian Government needs to come clean with people and tell them how much of the price fare increases they are passing on.
“I’d like to think that for once the Berejiklian Government would be on the side of commuters who are already dealing with unfair tolls and are now facing large fare increases.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Transport Jodi McKay
“Now is not the time to discourage workers from taking public transport roads as our roads are congested to choking point.
“It’s cruel and unfair that commuters are set to be punished by the government for simply catching a train to and from work.”