The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has recommended the NSW Government take COVID-19 circumstances into account when considering the recommendations of the Tribunal’s February report, Maximum Opal Fares 2020—2024.
The Tribunal said that in February it had decided the Government could increase fares by an average of five per cent per year over the next four years.
“We suggested these increases be offset by expanding off peak discounts and broadening the availability of concession fares to Commonwealth health care card holders,” the Tribunal said.
“This determination was made in the context of strong growth in the use of public transport,” it said.
“Also, fares were not keeping up with the substantial costs of new investment in transport services.”
IPART said the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly changed the situation.
“This requires a different approach not contemplated by us or the people we consulted with through the review,” it said.
“We think it is appropriate that the NSW Government takes the current circumstances into account when considering what fares to set.”
It said the Report had proposed price increases be offset by the introduction off-peak fares on bus and light rail to assist with dealing with crowding at peak times.
“This is especially important now,” the Tribunal said
IPART’s 25-page report from February can be accessed at this PS News link.