Opal fare decision

It's good news for Gold OPAL card holders. Adult fares are set to increase from 1 July this year, but Gold OPAL card holders will continue under a $2.50 capped fare. As always, Concession OPAL holders will see their fares increase, this time by 1.2%, half of the Adult fare.

The NSW Government has comprehensively rejected the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal's (IPART) recommendation on OPAL fares. (It shows what a solid bit of advocacy can achieve.)

IPART had recommended to raise the Gold card daily cap from $3.60. The cap will remain at $2.50.

IPART also recommends that the NSW Government review the eligibility arrangements for the Seniors Card, so that the benefits of the card are better targeted towards people who most need them. Many people have a Seniors Card to become eligible for a Gold OPAL card.

This is good news, except if you have not yet reached the age of 60 and are unemployed.

The Concession OPAL fare is set at 50% of the full fare, so it increases when the full fare increases. The full fare increase is 2.4% (although IPART had recommended 4.2%) per year for the next three years, so the Concession fare will be up 1.2% per year for the next three years.

Each fortnight, Newstart recipients receive $350 less than Age and Disability Pensioners, so imagine what it is like fulfilling your Mutual Obligation (job interviews, volunteering) while paying half fares. Impossible.