Opal rolls out to 333 bus, then Coogee and Randwick?

Posted: December 6, 2013 in Transport
Tags: , , ,

Transport for NSW’s Opal smartcard begins operating on the 333 bus today. While the bus trial began earlier with the 594-594H bus, this represents the first major bus route to begin operating with Opal, and one that also feeds into the Eastern Suburbs Line on which Opal also currently operates.

Opal brochure stating that the 594/594H and 333 bus routes will form part of the trial for buses. Click to enlarge. (Source: Beau Giles)

Opal brochure stating that the 594/594H and 333 bus routes will form part of the trial for buses. Click to enlarge. (Source: Beau Giles)

This rollout was previously hinted at by the inclusion of the 333 bus route in the Opal brochures (image above), and by the expansion of Opal top-up locations to places along the 333 route to Bondi Beach (image below).

Opal top up locations have begun to pop up between Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach, suggesting the 333 will be the next bus route on which Opal will be rolled out to. All other top up locations are near train stations and ferry stops on which Opal currently operates. Click to enlarge. (Source: Beau Giles)

Opal top up locations began to pop up between Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach well before the 333 was confirmed as the next bus route on which Opal would be rolled out to. All other top up locations are near train stations and ferry stops on which Opal already operated. Click to enlarge. (Source: Beau Giles)

This suggests that Opal top up locations are a good predictor of which routes Opal is set to be rolled out to.

Opal top ups at these locations would be consistent with the next Opal route passing through both Coogee and Randwick (such as the 373, 373, or 314).  But the low number also suggests that this could be some time away.

What has been confirmed is that the next expansion of Opal on the rail network will be on the Northern and North Shore Lines, out to the Central Coast, followed by the Western Line. Both of these are scheduled to occur in the first quarter of 2014. However, based on past experience, Opal’s rollout has generally happened 1-4 months ahead of the initial timetable, so this could occur as early as December (unless Transport for NSW decides to pause the rollout during the Christmas/New Year period).

Opal was initially said to be completely rolled out “by 2015”, but more recent announcements have begun to mention “end of 2014” instead, a sign that the rollout is on or ahead of the initial schedule. Opal was rolled out to all ferries in August earlier this year, while there is still no word on when it will be rolled out to light rail, other than the “end of 2014”.

  1. Tony Bailey says:

    A guess-
    1) Dulwich Hill Light rail line for the opening on about 1 February.

    2) Route T80 from Parramatta to Liverpool as an emergency measure.

  2. Greg Cameron says:


    Dear Premier: fix Sydney’s container traffic now – and save billions

    December 4, 2013 | Filed under: Breaking News, Government, Rail Freight and Intermodal, Sea Freight & Forwarding | Posted by: Charles Pauka

    Photo courtesy of Sydney Ports Corporation.

    Photo courtesy of Sydney Ports Corporation.

    An open letter to the Hon Barry O’Farrell MP, Premier and Minister for Western Sydney.

    Dear Premier,

    I refer to proposals for two intermodal terminals at Moorebank in western Sydney.

    Moorebank Intermodal Company (MIC) proposes a 1.2m TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit container) terminal. MIC is owned by the Australian government.

    SIMTA (Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance), a private company, proposes a 1m TEU terminal.

    MIC has been advised by the NSW government that ”the freight rail line between Port Botany and Moorebank, even with augmentation, can only support an intermodal terminal with a capacity of around 1.2m TEU per year in import-export containers”.

    On this basis, only one proposal can proceed.

    Three existing intermodal terminals – Enfield, Minto and Yennora – are already supplied by Port Botany rail line. Their combined annual capacities is 0.6m TEU.

    Is the Port Botany rail line’s capacity 1.8m TEU, or thereabouts?

    Last year, the NSW government allowed unlimited expansion of Port Botany container terminal.

    Container movements were 2m TEU in 2012 and are predicted to reach 7m TEU in 2030, and 13m TEU in 2050.

    In 2012, the modal split was 1.7m TEU truck and 0.3m TEU rail.

    In 2030, the modal split will be 5.2m TEU truck and 1.8m TEU rail.

    In addition, 80 per cent of containers railed to Moorebank will be trucked to the final destination. At Enfield, Minto and Yennora, all containers are trucked to the final destination.

    On average, a Port Botany container truck carries 2.01 TEU.

    In 2012, Port Botany container terminal generated 0.85m truck movements.

    In 2030, Port Botany container terminal will generate 2.6m truck movements.

    MIC’s intermodal terminal at Moorebank would generate 0.63m truck movements (average 1.7 TEU per truck). The three other terminals will generate at least 0.3m truck movements.

    Twelve months ago, the NSW government released its ”NSW Transport Masterplan”.

    In relation to environmental and noise impacts of freight, the report said: ”If growth on freight networks is not managed and future networks are not well planned, increases in freight volumes will adversely impact the natural and built environment, particularly in the context of increased emissions and noise pollution. This will reinforce negative community views and perceptions about freight, potentially driving a less efficient outcome for all.”

    The NSW government’s plan for transporting containers is more trucks.

    The capacity of Port Botany container terminal is unknown.

    After Port Botany container terminal reaches capacity, the plan is to build a container terminal at Port Kembla.

    NSW Ports Pty Ltd, the operator of Port Botany and Port Kembla, has no plan for a container terminal at Port Kembla.

    Should a container terminal be built, a 35 km section of rail line would need to be built to connect Port Kembla with the Southern Sydney Freight Line.

    The NSW government proposes building an intermodal terminal at Eastern Creek after a terminal at Moorebank, should it be built, reaches capacity.

    With Port Botany container movements increasing to 3.2m TEU around 2020, it is likely that a 1.2m TEU intermodal terminal at Moorebank will reach full capacity immediately.

    The government’s plan is to build a rail link between Eastern Creek and Port Botany by extending the existing line at Villawood.

    But if the capacity of the line between Port Botany and Villawood is around 1.8m TEU, extending it, obviously, is useless.

    If Eastern Creek is selected as the location for an intermodal terminal for Port Kembla, a new freight rail line can be built between Glenfield and Eastern Creek.

    A line from Glenfield to Eastern Creek can be extended to Newcastle for a freight rail bypass of Sydney, as discussed by the NSW and Australian governments.

    All container movements for all of NSW can then be through the Port of Newcastle.

    A primary benefit is removing container trucks from Sydney’s roads.

    Container trucks would be replaced by lighter trucks.

    Hazardous emissions, noise, road damage and traffic congestion, would be measurably less.

    Intermodal terminals at Enfield, Yennora and Minto can be closed.

    An intermodal terminal at Moorebank would not be built.

    Rail can be used for moving 1.8m TEU between Port Botany and Eastern Creek, via Glenfield.

    Construction of a container terminal at Newcastle, an intermodal terminal at Eastern Creek and the freight rail bypass section between Glenfield and Eastern Creek, can all proceed simultaneously.

    Container movements through Port Botany will decline by 25% when Newcastle container terminal commences operations, assuming around 25% of the NSW population live north of the Hawkesbury River and their demand for containers is around 25% of Port Botany throughput.

    When the bypass line is completed between Eastern Creek and Newcastle, Port Botany container terminal operations can relocate to Newcastle.

    All road freight entering Sydney, north and south, can be transferred to rail, further reducing truck movements.

    There would be no need for a container terminal at Port Kembla to serve Sydney.

    Removing all freight from the Sydney rail network releases 100% of capacity for passenger services, worth at least $1bn a year in savings to the economy.

    The proposed north-west rail line can access the CBD via Strathfield, using the freight rail line from Epping.

    The rail corridor to White Bay can be used for passengers.

    There would be no need to rail freight 24 hours per day through northern Sydney.

    $4.4 billion can be saved by cancelling stages 2 and 3 of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor, since all rail freight will use the bypass line.

    Private enterprise can finance, build and operate the container terminal at Newcastle, the intermodal terminal at Eastern Creek and the freight rail line between Newcastle and Glenfield.

    The total cost would be met by railing containers, instead of trucking them.

    The only real impediment is a willingness by superannuation funds and the NSW government to evaluate this alternative strategy, in the interests of the people of NSW.

    Yours faithfully,

    Greg Cameron

  3. artrlee says:

    Also spotted an Opal flag at the Darling Point shops. The bus stop here only serviced by 327, so I imagine all the 32x services also shifting to Opal soon.

  4. michblogs says:

    Only a crazy person would believe that the number of containers will increase from 2 million to 7 million between 2012 and 2030.

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