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Sydney bus, train and light rail fares will be slashed by 50 per cent from today, but only in off-peak hours and for those travelling over three kilometres.
Opal card holders can get half priced fares if they travel outside 6:30am–10am and 3pm-7pm and on Sydney Trains, Intercity Trains, Sydney Metro, light rail and bus.
The scheme, spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic, also applies to those travelling outside of 6am-10am on Intercity Trains.
The price slash will come into effect from Monday and be in place the next three months to ease congestion on public transport and curb the spread of coronavirus.
New South Wales Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the incentive will save commuters up to $3.60 per week.
‘We need commuters to get away from the shoulders of the peak and that time of the day so we don’t see heavy patronage putting people at risk,’ Mr Constance said.
Once the three-month half price savings come to an end, a permanent discount of 30 per cent off for off-peak light rail travel will come into effect.
But the changes won’t benefit everyone.
Commuters who travel by bus or light rail for less than 3km will be expected to pay up to 95c more each way for their fare.
Before the scheme, a bus or light rail for less than 3 kilometres during peak-hour would have cost $2.24, but from today the same trip will set customers back $3.20.
A peak-hour bus fare from Broadway to Central would have previously cost $2.24, but from today would be $3.20.
Fares via train will remain the same during the new, extended on peak times, but will be reduced for travel between 10am and 3pm, and again after 7pm.
Prior to Monday’s changes, peak-hour was considered 7am-9am and 4pm-6:30pm.
Also from today, the government scrapped the capped $2.80 Sunday fare and traded it in for a higher capped $8.05 fee.
The same fee will be introduced on Saturday, which previously did not have a spending limit.
‘This is to help spread weekend public transport loads and encourage people to enjoy capped public transport travel on Saturday as well as Sunday,’ a statement from Mr Constance’s office read.
Fares for bus and light rail peak journeys between zero and three kilometres will be increased, to ‘encourage people to walk or cycle for short distances or travel off peak.’
The NSW Government announced the sweeping changes following a recommendation from an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal report.
Shadow transport minister Chris Minns said everyone’s working hours vary and some employees can’t work when they choose.
‘For many people, how are they going to convince their boss that they can start work a couple of hours late?,’ Mr Minns said.
This article first appeared on en.brinkwire.com
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