OPAL’S weekly travel handout is tapping out.
From Monday, Opal cardholders who have reached their eight paid trips in a week will have to pay half-fare rather than receive the current free trip reward.
Francesca Wallace, 21, says with travel costs already “through the roof in Sydney” she will be using other alternatives to public transport. “As someone earning a pretty average low wage, I rely on these free trips to get around on the weekend,” she told AAP.
“Travel costs are already through the roof in Sydney, and if I’m having to pay for a service I find unreliable and often below standard why should I pay for it if I’ve always had it for free?” Ms Wallace said she had previously used her free trips to access transport services she would otherwise be unable to afford — such as the Manly ferry.
“I think it can be safe to say I’ll be opting to drive or walk instead of getting public transport.” Transport NSW described the free trip weekly travel reward as “not sustainable”.
“The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal recommended this be changed because it cost the Government $150 million last year and this was not sustainable,” a spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday.
According to the statement, only 30 per cent of customers used the weekly travel award, with the other 70 per cent paying for it.
“The change of the weekly travel reward to a 50 per cent discount after eight paid journeys is still a strong incentive for customers especially when combined with all the other Opal benefits.” Opal offers a $2.50 Sunday fee cap, which allows cardholders to travel all day across the network and never pay more than the set price.
Fare charges, the 60-minute transfer time and travel caps remain the same and adult cardholders will receive a $2 discount for each transfer made between modes — bus, ferry, train or light rail — within one journey.