LAKE Macquarie MP Greg Piper said local commuters would face unfair train fare increases if the state government adopts the recommendation of a review of Opal card operations.
Mr said he could not support the fare increases proposed in the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) report.
“I have concerns with some of IPART’s recommendations, primarily the proposed rises to weekly commuter rail tickets,” Mr Piper said.
“There are many people who travel to Sydney from Morisset and Dora Creek stations for work and a 41 per cent increase to their weekly ticket in just two years is unjustified and unfair.
“At a time when wages growth is the lowest on record, I don’t know how IPART justifies such rises.”
Mr Piper is joining the Opposition in calling on the state government to reject that aspect of IPART’s report.
“I certainly wouldn’t support those rises and would encourage the government to work on a better deal for commuters from regional areas who are being asked to dig into their pockets much deeper than their Sydney counterparts,” Mr Piper said.
Labor’s Member for Wyong, David Harris, said the government risked breaking its promise of cheaper fares to reward train commuters.
The IPART report also proposes methods to crack down on customers rorting the Opal card system, and recommends the current $2.50 daily cap for Gold Opal card users be increased by 60 per cent to $4 by 2018.
Mr Piper said seniors would still enjoy a good deal under the planned increase.
Public transport is one of those things that governments need to subsidise- MP Greg Piper
“Pensioner concessions are still quite generous in my opinion, and at $4 still offer amazing value,” he said.
“The vast majority of Opal Gold ticket holders I know are very happy with the deal, and I don’t believe the proposed rise is over the top.
“Public transport is one of those things that governments need to subsidise. It shouldn’t be about profits but it shouldn’t be run with a bottomless pit of taxpayer money either.
“We need a good, reliable, comfortable and safe service that will keep people on public transport and encourage more people out of their cars.”