Old mate Andrew Constance just cut the free Opal trips for NSW train riders because we are plebs who don’t deserve them… or something like that.
Okay, so he didn't actually call us plebs, but it's how we're feeling today.
The NSW Government has just announced that they will implement the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) recommendations to scrap the free Opal trips.
After eight paid journeys have been completed, we usually get the rest of them free for the week as a reward for being such good, public-transport taking citizens. Now, the "free trips" will be turned in to "discounted trips" (50% off discounts, to be precise). The regulator warned this move would see regular users paying 20% more on travel. Da fuq!?!
Not sure about you, but our idea of an enjoyable trip to work doesn’t involve being smushed by sweaty strangers for 45 minutes while we attempt to hold onto any kind of rail to avoid the dreaded stack. Nobody likes a train surf, unless they are on the way out for the night and hit the pre drinks a little too hard. The free trips were basically the only thing making these trips worthwhile.
Well, it's fair to say that people are PISSED!
According to the NSW Transport Minister, Andrew Constance, "Around 70 per cent of customers are not reaching the reward, meaning a majority of customers aren't receiving any benefit.” Ummm, we were quite enjoying them TBH.
It's not all bad news, though, the actual price of the fares have been frozen until July 2017 (yay!) and the daily cap will remain at $15 (also yay!).
If you happen to be a senior citizen then you are one of the lucky winners in today's Opal extravaganza. Mr Constance rejected the regulator's advice to raise the fare cap for Gold Opal from $2.50 to $3.60. HAZZAH FOR YOU!
The free trips costs the government $300million in revenue, with the Minister for Transport explaining the government is "giving away" free travel at the moment. Righto.
But, you guys, it’s all okay, because all we have to do is get some higher paying jobs and we can move closer to the city, or afford all the luxe train trips we desire. We’ll be sweet.
The fun new feature won't be in place until September, so if you feel the need to start a petition, have a cry or even just throw a tantrum, you have plenty of time.