I honestly think these 'changes' are more like corrections of the obvious flaws in the original scheme.
The fact that you pay the base price of $2 each time you switch modes of transport is pretty bad in the first place. In theory the price should correlate with distance travelled so the removal of any multiple charges of the base price through the 'discount' should mean the price you pay more accurately reflects the actual distance you travel.
The free trips scheme was a poorly thought out scheme because it is open to arbitrage and easily cost the government millions of dollars of lost revenue. Whilst it is generous to transport users, it was never going to be sustainable for the government. The economics of that scheme simply doesn't make any sense. It makes more economic sense to offer a discount after a certain number of trips (not sure why they chose 8 tbh). I would prefer steeper discounts for longer distance trips rather than a flat 50% discount rate for all trips in excess of the 8 full price ones though.