Sydneysiders gouged by tolls and public transport fares

By Leith van Onselen

Earlier this week we reported how tolls on some of Sydney’s roads are rising at triple the rate of inflation, which is hammering household budgets. The news cam after The ABC revealed earlier this year that Sydney’s toll road network is the most expensive and extensive in the world.

Now, Statista has revealed that Sydney also has one of the most expensive public transport systems in the world:

Deutsche Bank recently released the 8th edition of its annual survey of global prices and living standards from various cities and countries. Among the many different categories analyzed was the price of public transportation in 55 major cities. The research uncovered a major disparity in the cost of a monthly ticket and it ranged from $89 in Berlin to just $15 in Buenos Aires on average.

No wonder so many local residents are leaving Sydney. The cost of living has simply become too high.

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Unconventional Economist

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

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  1. HadronCollision

    Anyone escaping SydMel and want 10 acres in the Northern Rivers lemme know!

    • Thanks, but I prefer to buy my property off over-extended Uber drivers on Gumtree.

    • You could set up an MB doomsday preppers commune. The biggest expense would be creating an end of days sized wine cellar.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Meh, it’ll end up a shambles like the MacroBusiness Sydney to Hobart yacht, drifting aimlessly towards Argentina while everyone squabbles.

  2. I really want to make an acerbic comment but I will be send to the sin bin so I’ll pass. there Harold.

  3. Jumping jack flash

    Shhh… don’t rag on the productivity!

    Gouging is necessary for anyone who can get away with it.
    Besides, higher prices mean inflation, and 2-3% inflation is good for the economy, right?

    Also something to look out for are more 3rd-world-immigrant casual staff, arriving at a train station near you. Think of the diversity. I’m sure they’ll be really helpful if you need to ask for directions.

    As you pay the increased costs of services providing exactly the same value as before, or probably less, with your stagnant wages, think of all the higher-level public transport workers who can now take on even larger wads of debt and hand them over to someone else to enjoy.

    Just wait patiently, it’ll be our turn soon… any day now, someone else’s massive wad of debt in my bank account… oooh..

  4. Is that chart the average of concession and full-fare? I pay just over $148 for 28 days full-fare — yes, it is expensive.

  5. It’s expensive to go one stop on the train in Sydney. Short commutes subsidise longer ones. How much would a Sydney to Newcastle equivalent train cost in those other cities? I DOUBT it’s only $8.90 like it is in Sydney. Ridiculously cheap for over 100km.

  6. J BauerMEMBER

    The cost of public transport table is a bit disingenuous. Yes the London Underground is expensive, but it’s an amazing network, you can get it from anywhere in the city. To catch public transport in syd you need to own a car and drive to and from the station.

  7. bzunicaMEMBER

    If you live in the Hills and drive to the city you can easily spend $15 in tolls ($7.50 for M2, $3.70 for Lane Cove tunnel and $4 for Harbour tunnel) – it is nothing short of a joke. This city is unbelievably expensive and there is little wonder people are moving away.

    • Yeah the M2 tolls are a joke, Beacroft rd to Lane Cove Rd is $7.50, it’s only about 3 km and traffic on Lane Cove Rd is so bad that any time you saved taking the M2 is wasted dealing with Lane Cove Rd traffic.
      It’s a F’ing bad joke that the Epping station overpass can’t be upgraded to deal with the extra traffic without compensating the Toll rd. It’s these unknown side deals that Leith should be talking about because these are the deals that are making Sydney traffic absolute hell for motorists that chose to take other routes. Apparently the intersection cannot be upgraded even if the local traffic in the region increases exponentially (like around Epping) It’s not just incompetence for officials to agree to such secret contractual provisions, it’s nothing short of criminal negligence.
      But hey F’it in Sydney today there’s a toll road system for the anointed few and another congested system for the rest.

  8. DominicMEMBER

    Sorry, but I’m all for tolls. Paying money for something clarifies whether it’s really necessary to drive somewhere, pollute the atmosphere and clog up the roads. If you offer something for free, people will take it — every time.

    As an aside, it’s no wonder we have an obesity problem.

      • DominicMEMBER

        I hear what you’re saying but how else do you divvy up a scarce resource? By charging you’re asking the question: who needs this most urgently? Is your trip really necessary? Is there an alternative?

        Provide something for free and every chimp helps themselves — multiple times. And ruins it for those most in need.

  9. Hard to have much sympathy.

    1. Sydney NIMBYS want all roads built in tunnel at 10x the cost. Therefore there will be 10x less roads.
    2. Sydney Trains has low fare-box recovery, not surprising given the high operational costs. Show me a train system anywhere in the world (and not in the 18th century) dealing with Sydney-type passenger levels, where the train not only has a driver and a guard, but a bunch of people waving flags on the station platform?
    Way more trackwork than any comparable overseas network, very little results seen. Failures on one line affect all the others, bar Eastern Suburbs line (maybe).
    That said I think new heavy rail in Sydney is now dead, it will be driverless Metro from here on out.
    3. Sydney must be the only city where toll costs also vary by what political electorate you’ve decided to live in. Choose the correct one and you might get a rebate – totally ridiculous system.
    4. Too much spent on inefficient gimmicks for cyclists. When was the last time you saw goods moved by bicycle (outside of a poverty stricken country)? I have witnessed a cycleway get built, and 6 weeks later entirely dug up again to lay cable/stormwater and then replaced. What was the additional cost burden of that craziness?
    5. Sure they voted out Tony Abbott because he wasn’t pure enough on climate change – these same people then take a bunker oil burning ferry from the 1980’s to work, subsidised by everyone else.