IPART’s recommendations for fares and improvements to the operation of Opal is a common sense compromise to ensure that Sydney is serviced by a more efficient and fairer public transport system said the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF).
“Opal has been a great success story for Sydney’s public transport network and we have the opportunity here to iron out a few of the kinks when it comes to transfers between modes and the ability for people to frontload their travel with cheaper trips earlier in the week,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
“TTF has long advocated for fares to be fully integrated across all modes of public transport as this would create a better experience for customers and remove the transfer penalty. IPART’s compromise proposal of a $2.00 rebate is a good step towards fully integrated fares which should continue to be the goal of the NSW Government for Sydney’s transport network.
“The 50 per cent discount on the fare of the ninth and subsequent journeys would help to improve the cost recovery rate in Sydney, which sits at a low 22 per cent – significantly lower than other cities such as Wellington, Dunedin and Chicago which have cost recovery rates between 50 and 60 per cent despite having a similar population density to Sydney.
“In London, fares cover well over half of operating costs. The proposed 50 per cent discount would also help to eliminate the perverse incentive for commuters to take unnecessary short trips to reach the free trips after eight journeys.
“We also believe caps are a good feature of a public transport system and aim to encourage and reward customers for more frequent use of public transport.
“TTF is also calling on the NSW Government to create a dedicated visitor Opal card that combines unlimited public transport tickets to Sydney’s major attractions.
“A Visitor Opal could offer different and unique products tailored to the needs of visitors – for example, unlimited travel across the network for set periods of time. One, three or five day unlimited passes would encourage visitors to see more of Sydney and spread the benefit of their visit right across our city.
“The ease and effectiveness of our public transport is best measured by how a visitor to Sydney can access the system. That should not be lost on transport planners as they continue to refine and improve Opal.”
Ms Osmond said that the NSW Government also needed to complete the roll out of Opal by including private ferry operators.