Price hike recommended for CityRail fares

Rail fares should be increased by more than 13 per cent, the state’s independent price regulator has recommended.

The increase would mean commuters travelling between Parramatta or Blacktown and Central would pay another $5.15 a week for the journey; making the fare $44.15.

A return journey to the city would be increased from $9.60 to $10.90.

Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal chairman Peter Boxall said the increases were required to ‘‘strike the balance between passenger revenue and taxpayer subsidies’’ of rail services.

Dr Boxall said the impost would return fares ‘‘to a level that ensures passengers and taxpayers each fund a fair share of the efficient costs’’.

He said limiting increases to inflation only would lead to an additional taxpayer subsidy of about $95 million over the next three years. 

If adopted by the state government, fares would start to increase by an average 4.4 per cent from January next year until 2015.

But Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian backed away from the recommendations, using a statement similar  to her response after a recommended increase to ferry fares.

‘‘Fares would not be increased above the Consumer Price Index (CPI), unless there are demonstrable improvements to services for customers,’’ she said.

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