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Media Release 2014-01-29 – Opal

“During the election, the Minister for Transport promised during that she would not raise fares unless they improved public transport. Yet in October she cut services on the Inner West Line, in December announced the removal of bus stops, and in January increased fares.

“We all know how much better traffic flows on school holidays. The Light Rail extension will service many of the Inner West’s schools. Yet the Minister for Transport simply refuses to give student fares on the Light Rail like on Sydney’s buses and trains; and continues to delay the Opal roll-out on the simple single-line single-operator Inner West Light Rail by another year.

The reason for an integrated ticketing system was to remove the cost of changing modes so that passengers can mix and match. For example, even running at slow NSW speeds the light rail to Marion St, Haberfield will be faster than the bus. However rather than making an efficient interchange the Minister added an unnecessary 500m walk and another fare just to please the departments of Treasury and Roads and so she dissuade customers.”

Within weeks of rolling out Opal card services to North Shore stations the Minister announced staffing cuts. If she is happy to leave stations in her own electorate unmanned and unsafe, what hope does the Inner West have?

The Minister has shown that she is willing to use the Opal system as a way of cutting staff and increasing revenue, but she needs to deliver what she promised the people of NSW, better public transport.”

Said Mathew Hounsell Co-convenor of Ecotransit Sydney