Fare prices capped

Bus fare increases in NSW have been capped by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal

Fare prices capped
Fare prices capped

November 29, 2013

Figures released by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) this week allow government and private bus operators to increase bus fares in NSW by an average of 2.6 per cent in January 2014.

The final report and determination setting allows maximum bus fares for the Sydney metropolitan, outer metropolitan, Newcastle, Central Coast, Wollongong, Blue Mountains and Hunter areas for the four years from 2014 to 2017.

The determination allows government and private bus operators to increase maximum bus fares by an average of 2.6 per cent in January 2014 and 3 per cent each year after - 0.5 per cent above expected inflation in each year.

IPART Chairman Peter Boxall says the determination sets the maximum average fare increase, with changes to individual fares to be set by the government so they have flexibility for the integration of bus fares into the new Opal card.

If the average increase of 2.6 per cent is applied to any MyBus single ticket it would mean an increase of 10 cents, while a TravelTen would increase by between 50 cents to 80 cents.

"The main reason for these fare increases is the cost of an ongoing program of government bus fleet expansion and replacement," Boxall says.

"The program aims to improve bus travel for passengers by providing more bus services and replacing aging buses with new, safer, air-conditioned, wheelchair accessible buses."

Boxall says the fare increases are only 0.5 per cent above inflation each year, reflecting the improved cost control for bus services and appropriate levels of cost recovery from bus users.

"Under the maximum fares in our determination, passengers would pay around 40 per cent of the estimated efficient costs of providing bus services," Boxall says.

"The remaining 60 per cent of costs would be funded by taxpayers, reflecting both the broader community benefits of bus services, such as reduced traffic congestion and pollution, as well as subsidies for school student and concession tickets."

"This approach is consistent with the way that we set train and ferry prices and strikes the right balance between passenger revenue and taxpayer subsidies of bus services."

The final determination is largely consistent with the draft determination, with updated estimates of the cost of capital and inflation.

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