Local MPs from both sides of politics agree that the state government’s “modest” changes to Opal fares are a good outcome for commuters.
But they’re divided on who should take credit for the size of the price increase.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance last week confirmed a 2.4 per cent rise on Opal ticket prices from July 3.
“The impact on an average customer [from the latest change] is roughly 50 cents a week, and means taking the train, bus, ferry or light rail is still a much cheaper option than driving," Mr Constance said.
Under the changes, a train trip from Penrith to Town Hall would rise by 15 cents during peak periods, while a bus ride from Blacktown to Baulkham Hills would increase 11 cents.
In March, Labor MPs claimed the state government would accept a recommendation from The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to increase fares by 4.2 per cent – setting commuters back “hundreds of dollars” in the process.
At the time Mr Constance called Labor’s claims “an appalling recycled scare campaign”, but Mount MP Edmond Atalla said commuters had Labor to thank for a “great outcome”.
“We’re pleased that the government has backed down on the recommendation of IPART,” he said. “We have no doubt they were on track to accept it.
“If they weren’t going to accept it, why didn’t they come out and make their position clear? It’s down to Labor that they didn’t.”
Londonderry MP Prue Car claimed the Liberal Party had been “dragged kicking and screaming [into the decision] by communities like ours”.
“This is what Labor has been fighting for. A greater increase would have been too heavy a burden for commuting families,” she said.
Mr Constance said the changes showed the government’s commitment to protecting families across Sydney.
“Under Labor, public transport fares skyrocketed 87 per cent while the network was falling apart. The comparison couldn’t be starker, we’ve kept fares low while investing billions in new rail lines and we also have brand new trains on the way to increase reliability and services,” he said.
“Labor has methodically been sneaking around NSW conducting an abysmal fare scare campaign. We can again show today you just can’t trust anything they say.”