Major upgrade for NSW Opal transport
The NSW government has committed almost $570 million to upgrade the state's Opal transport system and trial a new all-in-one app.
Treasurer Matt Kean made the commitment on Friday ahead of the state budget, to be handed down on June 21.
The $567.9 million Opal Next Gen upgrades will make it faster and easier to travel around the state as the government upgrades the Opal system.
Commuters will be able to add their Opal cards to their digital wallets, modernising NSW's transport network, Mr Kean said.
"Since 2012 more than four billion trips have been taken using Opal, which has transformed the way we travel and it is now time to invest in keeping this system in line with our evolving needs and expectations," he said.
"This gives us a window into the future, setting up the Opal network to keep pace with our changing needs whether that be a train, bus, e-bike, e-scooter, rideshare or even electric vehicle charging."
The government will also trial a new all-in-one mobility app, Opal Plus, which allows users to bundle together their use of public transport, rideshares, rental e-bikes, taxis and parking.
Infrastructure Minister Rob Stokes said the app would revolutionise how people travel as it took into account "last mile journeys" and made it easier to leave the car at home.
"Opal Plus will free up people to choose their own adventure when it comes to transport, laying the ground work for an even more intelligent transport system that puts the citizen at its heart," he said.
The app will initially be rolled out to 10,000 people.
In 2019, then-transport minister Andrew Constance said during a speech to the Sydney Institute he had a vision for a transport subscription service similar to Netflix, where commuters sign up for a nominal fee each month, with built-in pricing for different public and private transport modes.
"I don't think it's unrealistic to see the same kind of service being introduced here in Sydney in the near future," Mr Constance said.
NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns said he supported investment in Opal, but possible increases to public transport fares were concerning.
The government has not ruled out a rise to fares on the Opal network from July.
"I'm all for ways of making it easier to use the Opal card, but if (the government are) going to jack up fares on public transport, I think people would say, 'It doesn't matter to me how I pay for it, if fares are going to go up, I'm concerned about it'," Mr Minns said.
"The government has to understand there's a cost of living crisis in New South Wales."
Competitive tenders will be run by Transport for NSW over the next two months.
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