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Wednesday 18 May 2016

Today’s decision to maintain current Opal fares and not implement recommended price hikes from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal is a welcome relief for the people of NSW, particularly those on low incomes according to the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS).

NCOSS CEO Tracy Howe said she was particularly pleased to see fares for the Gold Opal stay the same.

“Proposed increases to the Gold Card daily cap and the proposal to fix the cap to adult fares would have seen prices go up by more than the rate of inflation over coming years. 

“Increased costs for seniors, people with disability, and refugees, would have seen many priced out of the transport system. 

Ms Howe said it was also good to see a freeze on fares for the moment.

“Proposed increases from $15 to $18 to the daily adult cap on fares, would have had a big impact, particularly on people who live long distances from the Sydney CBD and other central locations, such as those who live in outer Western Sydney or the Central Coast.

“Transport is an integral part of our society, and any restricted access to its use will have a significant impact, particularly on some of our more vulnerable communities.

“It’s good to see the Government take the sensible approach to these recommendations.”

Ms Howe said in the longer term a review was needed of the concessions system to ensure all concessions are hitting the mark for all low income households.

“While various concessions are available in NSW for transport they are not always providing the right support to those most in need.  

“It’s time for NSW to take a close look at our concessions system and make sure it is achieving its goal - supporting people on low-incomes to make ends meet.

“We should be aiming for a system that enables independence and greater participation in life.”