Outcry over rising fares
Commuters say plans unfair without making improvements to services
ST MARYS and Mt Druitt workers could pay hundreds of dollars more a year to catch the train to the city and lose free travel perks if fare increase recommendations are adopted.
Fares will rocket by a whopping 4.2 per cent a year for the next three years under plans tabled by the Independent Pricing Regulator Tribunal (IPART) recently.
Commuters travelling from St Marys to Central currently pay $2698.36 a year. Under the proposal, the same journey would rocket up to $3598.92 – an increase of $900.36.
Trips from Mt Druitt to the city would rise almost $490, from $2687.36 to $3177.72.
Commuters are angry at the fare increases, saying services have not improved enough to justify them and difficulty finding a park near a station makes driving more tempting.
Public transport users also face losing the Opal card’s popular free travel provision – with the current free travel after eight journeys set to be replaced with a 50 per cent discount on the standard fare. Daily caps on maximum weekday fares would also increase from $15 to $18, penalising people who travel longer distances.
Bianca Ebirim, of St Marys, was excited about getting a job in the city but the fares rise put a dampener on her career move. She hoped the rising prices were not slugging Western Sydney commuters because of a few fare dodgers.
“That’s unfair because I’ve been doing it properly,’’ Ms Ebirim said.
Pensioners are also in line to be whacked after IPART recommended lifting daily caps on concession Gold Opal cards from $2.50 to $3.60.
The NSW Opposition has called for the Government to reject the recommendations, saying wages are not increasing fast enough to make 4.2 per cent a year increase fair.
Mt Druitt state Labor MP Edmond Atalla said he was “vehemently opposed” to the new prices.
“There’s an increase in fares but there’s no additional trains or improvement to the service level, that hasn’t moved,’’ he said.
Making public transport unviable would add to the already clogged roads.
When you make public transport unviable for people it’ll make the situation worse Edmond Atalla Il ike the Opal cards, I missed about 10 trains without it, but now by swiping it I get on quicker. But yeah, the price rise is annoying, that’s really bad. What’s the point of it going up if things aren’t improving? The only convenience is tapping in and out and not waiting. Kathy Barrah This is the first I’ve heard of it but it’s a bit of a hike. Obviously it’s not good. I travel to Wynyard; so the price is a fair bit higher. It’s inconvenient, but I probably wouldn’t go as far as driving instead. Mina William I think it’s expensive. They want us to catch a train so the prices should be much more reasonable. People might start driving, and the other problem is there is no parking around here. I walked for 10 minutes from my car park. Tanya When the Opal Card came in, even with the free trips it worked out to be more expensive than what a weekly ticket cost us and now it’s going up again. With the car parking issues it makes you not want to catch the train ... I have to walk from right down the bottom of the Carinya Ave carpark. Karen
Unviable claims PRICE ON THE RISE Bianca Ebirim is concerned about rising public transport prices after securing a job in the city.