Paper tickets to be retired and replaced with Opal

Posted: June 1, 2014 in Transport
Tags: ,

All magnetic stripe paper tickets are to be retired, replaced by Opal cards, with the first set of paper tickets to be retired from 1 September this year. Opal has been rolled out onto the entire train and ferry network, and most tickets to be retired on 1 September are train tickets.

Paper tickets set to be retired or maintained after 1 September 2014. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

Paper tickets set to be retired or maintained after 1 September 2014. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

The move is likely to negatively affect train passengers currently using periodical tickets, which are set to be phased out entirely on 1 September for adults, leaving them with 2 options: obtain a return ticket each day or move to Opal. Periodical ticket users have previously complained that this could mean increased fares for them, with fare comparison website Opal or Not showing a commuter from Parramatta to Central will pay $5.71 per week more with Opal than with a myTrain quarterly ticket. The Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has countered this by arguing that this is not a fair comparison as “customers pay hundreds or thousands of dollars up front for travel they may not take, for example when on annual leave, or if sick”. She adds that periodical tickets only “represent about four per cent of all tickets sold” and that “the Opal card offers cheaper fares, with around 90 per cent of customers the same or better off financially under Opal”.

Pensioner Excursion Tickets will also be retained for now, albeit no longer sold onboard buses; while most concession tickets are being kept, with only periodical concession tickets on trains to be retired on 1 September. An Opal card for children has been released, with the Pensioner Opal card to be rolled out later this year. A concession Opal card had been previously mentioned, but now no longer appears on the Opal website.

The news comes as Opal is set to be rolled out to another 96 buses operated by Forest Coach Lines in Sydney’s North from 10 June.

Commentary: Are paper tickets worth keeping?

The government’s decision to completely phase out paper tickets, and to begin their retirement while Opal is still being rolled out is both surprising and risky.

It is surprising as the occasional user or short term visitor to Sydney may still require access to paper tickets for a single or infrequent trip that does not warrant putting down the $40 deposit required for an Opal card. By comparison, Melbourne’s Myki card requires a $7 $6 deposit, which is then fully refundable.

It is also risky in that it forces some passengers from periodical to Opal fares, which for many will create a feeling of being worse off. The Minister is correct in saying that these tickets are a very small minority, and that some will actually still be better off due to passengers having to pay up front for their periodicals even if some days are unused due to illness or holidays. But it remains risky.

A less risky approach may have been to increase the price of periodicals over a few years at a much faster rate than Opal (and other paper tickets) until eventually all passengers moved voluntarily to Opal. At that point, retiring paper tickets would become much easier. It’s also somewhat ironic that this is a problem of the government’s own making – it announced back in 2011 that it would heavily discount periodical tickets to encourage their use. Now that it has decided to remove this heavy discounting, this stop gap solution to a problem has become its own problem.

None of this is to say that the end goal of a paperless transport ticketing system is a bad one. Removing these 20th century methods of fare payment and replacing them with Opal will reduce dwell times for buses and improve passenger movement through congested stations. It will also provide much needed data for the government, which will help to better direct the limited transport budget to where it is most needed. So while unpopular, decisions that help to move more quickly in the right direction should be welcomed rather than criticised.

In that sense, today’s announcement is either an example of foolhardy decision making or of true leadership. Take your pick.

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Comments
  1. Tandem Train Rider says:

    I think what’s going on here is they need to phase out long term periodicals a full year in advance of de-commissioning the magnetic strip readers. I think this gives us some indication as to when they anticipate going 100% Opal: sometime late next year.

  2. Alexsg says:

    I don’t have an in-principle objection to the phasing out of magnetic strip tickets but it is essential that, first, the introduction of the new system is not used as a back door way to increase fares or reduce flexibility and, second, that the initial purchase is made easy and inexpensive for occasional users and visitors.

    Melbourne’s approach of the refundable $7 deposit for a Myki card is a good start, though personally I would go even lower. I was recently in Tbilisi in Goegia and there you can buy a Metromoney” card to use on the metro, buses and minibuses for the equivalent of $1.30; return it within a month and you get a full refund.

    The card can be easily topped up not only at metro stations but also at ATM-like machines scattered through the city where you can also pay for a number of other services. These cards are not registered or linked to an ID but a number of card-based systems in other cities can cope with both registered and unregistered cards.

  3. Ben says:

    I can’t help but think that our ticketing system will soon emulate Hong Kong’s, which is primarily based on the Octopus card, with single mode tickets as a secondary method of ticketing. Actually there isn’t even a ticket involved, it is up to the drivers of the buses and trams to validate that the passenger has paid the correct fare, and no ticket/paper is issued.

    Opal will start to look better if the Government does not increase its fares at the beginning of the year, just like in January, where only paper ticket fares increased. I also think that more critics will be silenced once the Opal card is available in retailers and stations.

    PS: myki has a $6 deposit, $3 for concs.

  4. @Ben –

    Good catch. It’s been corrected. A Myki card used to cost $10, and was then dropped down to $6. I should have looked it up, but relied on my memory (which was slightly off).

  5. Paul Maynard. says:

    I find it annoying that I learn this on a private blog before I hear about it at work (Dept of Transport). Not surprised though.

  6. QPP says:

    Are Opal cards going to be made easier/quicker/cheaper to get hold of as part of the rollback of paper tickets? It doesn’t seem to be a problem elsewhere with similar systems to sell them in newsagents or likewise, rather than have to apply to the bureaucracy.

    You’d have to say it’s a must especially where visitors are concerned

  7. michblogs says:

    Where does it say that the $6 myki fee is refundable? Nowhere, thats where.

  8. michblogs says:

    ” She adds that periodical tickets only “represent about four per cent of all tickets sold”

    This is a fairly spurious claim. If there are 1000 commuters from a station, and 500 of them buy daily return tickets, and 500 of them buy monthly tickets, then they sell 500 monthly tickets and 10000 daily tickets a month.

    So the monthly tickets are only 4.9% of the tickets sold. But they are used by 50% of the users and furnish about 46% of the ticket sales revenue.

    On only one of those three criteria do periodical tickets rate as a “tiny minority”.

    I don’t have much of an issue with the phasing out of these tickets, particularly while the myMulti weekly is still available for train and bus users who don’t have Opal on their buses yet. There seems to be no reason to bolster the Government’s case with ridiculous and illogical spin arguments.

  9. MrV says:

    Get rid of the paper ASAP, no point in having a dual system for any longer than stricly necessary. The paper tickets also litter the stations and surrounds.

    They do need to sort out what will happen (for example) at the airport for tourists. The best bet will be to have a system like MRT in Singapore where the machine dispenses a card with a certain number of trips on it, and the user can refill the card as they please or get $1 back by putting the card into a machine when finished with it.

    Other than that the local yokels who want their periodicals will have to get with the times, although surely it would have been easier to just slightly increase the Opal discount so these problems never came up in the first place.

  10. QPP says:

    Agree with all of the above. And fix the multi-modal issue as well.

    …….in other words, do what almost all other cities with such systems have done. Can’t be that hard, can it?

  11. Rob says:

    So they are stopping student concession train fares in 3 months time, yet have announced no plans on how a student concession Opal card might be obtained.

    There seems to be nobody checking any of the roll-out scheduling makes sense. Opal cards need to be available to all categories of users well in advance of them removing classes of ticket!

  12. @Rob –

    Concession train tickets aren’t disappearing, periodicals are. Single, return, and weekly concession tickets are still available and will be for the foreseeable future.

  13. OC says:

    This is a massive fare increase by stealth plain and simple.

    Despite the rubbish spouted by the minister opal is nowhere near as affordable as periodicals (particularly monthly and over). My quarterly ticket of $410 covers me for 13 weeks of commuting. Travelling by opal will cost $488 or 19% more. Moreover I pay for my quarterly by credit card hence get uo to 45 days interest free (as opposed to having to load a non interest bearing float on opal) and get valuable points.

    It is obvious opal is failing to get traction as transport for nsw is having to employ people to spruik the system to commuters. Having failed to get great traction they are resorting to shutting down the alternative, cheaper options. The cynicism is obvious given they are stopping monthly and over mymultis but keeping the more expensive weeklies (which incidentally require multiple times the ticket vending resources). This is so they can at least claim to have some form of integrated ticketing (despite being significantly more expensive than the longer dated periodicals).

    this move is politically naiive going into the state election. Given the uproar on the impact of the federal budget on western sydney families (plus the appalling behaviour revealed at the icac) the liberals are frankly insane to put offside commuters in these electorates.

  14. MrV says:

    @OC
    I wouldn’t know how much this would affect voting intentions. And while I would agree that if Opal was introduced as an integrated ticketing, and a good discount to boot, they wouldn’t have any trouble persuading people to ditch periodicals. The Oyster card in London is a classic example where it made obvious sense to use the card.

    That said the subsidy to the NSW taxpayer is already high, something in the order of the commuter pays only $1 in every $4 of expense. How sustainable is this really? In effect you are asking for more subsidy. But *someone* has to pay.

  15. OC says:

    I’m not asking for more subsidy but to keep the deal that I already have which works just fine. It is obvious that the Govt is not getting the take-up of the card they would like considering the $1bn++ cost of the system and insatead of offering a better deal is simply choosing to shut down the alternatives.

    As to who is paying for the existing subsidy I would say my last couple of years worth of tax returns suggest I am paying for more than my fair share thank you every much and come the 1st of July will be paying even more! (all states benefit from massive fiscal transfers from the Feds + collect payroll tax directly.)

    As to the politics of the change I am fairly sure that when this eventually hits the press (not one paper has even published it yet) there will be uproar in marginal western sydney and outer suburban electorates.

  16. Matt Adams says:

    OC,

    Reality is that the monthly/quarterly users got substantial discounts a few years ago – which in hindsight were way too generous, with the likely eventual introduction of a smartcard.
    You can still top-up the Opal on credit card and get the benefit of your up to 45-days, but rather than $400 upfront, this will be via say 5 $80 top-ups over the period. This is a few $$s back in your pocket.
    You also don’t pay for Opal on the week you are on holidays (on average one week in a quarter), or if you are sick for a few days.
    And when you reach the Travel Reward – the Opal is far more flexible than your previous ticket – take a ferry to Manly, a short-train trip in the opposite direction, a bus ride – all included – while you may not use it, many will, and there is value in the option.

    While I agree it will probably cost you a little more, the difference is nothing like 19%

    Also by using the Opal more smartly, I suspect you can substantially reduce the monthly spend – take the train to a lunchtime meeting the other side of the city, stop off for an hour for shopping/dinner on the way home.

  17. kojacq says:

    For some people in the Sydney Metropolitan area, Opal tickets work out cheaper than standard paper tickets. For others, such as myself, Opal tickets are more expensive than the standard Weekly, Monthly or Quarterly return to the City, depending on where you travel from. Not by much, they over the course of a year, this would add up. For myself, a quarterly return saves me $4.62 per week. Over the course of a 48 week working year, that’s $221.76 in savings by buying the quarterly. For the monthly, the saving is 90 cents per week or $43.20 for the year.

    So, the quasi-government/private entity which now runs Sydney Trains, is effectively implementing a price increase on those who currently enjoy the cheaper paper ticket fare, by discontinuing paper tickets from being offered for sale from the 1st September. Nice one NSW government.

    Is this part of Baird’s plan to get the govt back into surplus? See the article in the link:
    http://www.watoday.com.au/breaking-news-national/nsw-to-return-to-surplus-a-year-earlier-20140617-3aah8.html?

    Regardless, the bottom line is that, people like me, which I would estimate to be about 30-50% of the fare paying public transport users, who are currently paying less than the Opal card via way of the Weekly, Monthly or Quarterly standard paper/magnetic striped tickets, will be paying more.

    If you wanna know whether the paper/magnetic ticket is cheaper than Opal, for your own circumstances, go here: http://www.opalornot.com/ before 1st September, and find out. You may save some money between now & 1st September.

  18. bob says:

    Here’s the big picture

    The world’s financial system is deflating – it cannot be stopped

    Debt has ruined the planet and because instead of writing down bad debts governments have instead pushed the debt back into the public arena

    Governments the world over are embarking upon austerity measures to try and keep the debt system afloat but it’s failing

    The FED and other central banks have admitted to pumping in 21.9 Trillion dollars into the markets but it still cannot fight off deflation so austerity measures are now coming upon savers stripping them of their wealth, whether by keeping interest rates artificially low, or manipulating gdp/cpi figures so as to cook the growth figures it’s all the same – this opal system is robbing those who took advantage of buying periodical tickets by placing them on a spend while you go system which ALWAYS costs more as it doesn’t draw on a long term store of wealth

    Did people really think the government didn’t have the actuaries pour over the data to figure out who they could fleece and how?

    As to returning to surplus, I hope people realise that doesn’t mean paying down all the outstanding debt – no, just stopping the hemorrhaging – until the bond market starts rising again which will have interest rates return to normal levels then it’s game over – the debt outstanding cannot be repaid when interest rates return to normal levels as they must do

    At every turn you will be forced to pay for every service. You will not be entitled to store wealth because governments need to come after the savers to pay for the speculators misdeeds over the past 20+ years

    The days of exponential growth are over people and anyone falling outside of the typical mass stereotype (such as a metropolitan commuter) can expect to be fleeced totally in the coming years

  19. QPP says:

    lol….you couldn’t make it up

    Are you sure Opal fares aren’t the fault of a failure to adhere to the Gold Standard?

  20. Matt says:

    This is another rip off by the Government. I travel from Penrith to city and buy a fou weekly pass which costs $189. however moving to Opal I will be paying $200. Thus I will be paying $143 more out of my household income. This is a systematic increase of fare for which the transport department don’t have approval for.

  21. Rich says:

    Forget what other countries do. This is about Sydney and NSW. If they are thinking about phasing out paper tickets totally it is a really stupid Idea.

    One of the most idiotic things is that you cannot buy Opal cards at train stations nor can you top them up there. You must order them and then wait for it to be mailed to a permanent address, then set-up a funding source. What happens if you need to catch a train in 10 minutes time or even an hour? What if you come to Sydney for a one off visit? What if you are passing through? It is ridiculous to disallow the one day fares.

    Another thing that is counterproductive is to drop the off peak discount fares. We need to encourage people to travel in the less crowded times. I think anyone who has travelled in peak time will agree the trains can be uncomfortable and an unwelcome stress when packed.

  22. Koen says:

    I agree this is simply a fare hike. They removed the tickets that are best value for daily commuters and kept the expensive ones. Why is that do you think?
    I travel 5 days per week from Schofields to the city for work and this is going to cost me $42.66 per month more with an Opal card. All these comparisons to show how much cheaper the Opal card is are ridiculous. Who buys daily or weekly tickets if you travel by train 5 days a week all year. Nobody!
    I know I am not alone or a minority. About half of my colleagues buy monthly, quarterly or even yearly tickets. The other half uses their car, take a bus or ride their bicycle. I think this is true for most people living in the suburbs and working in the city. I don’t believe the claim that it affects only 3 or 4% of the commuters. It affects 50% of my colleagues and we are an ordinary city office. Yes, if you go by ticket sales it is small number but they represent roughly the same amount as daily tickets.
    Again this is just a cheap way to increase profits, period!

  23. Beau Giles says:

    @Koen; but periodical tickets do account for ~5.6% of all tickets sold, and all journeys made – have you not seen the monday morning queues at your local station?
    Honestly; the majority are *not* buying or using periodical tickets, and only purchasing single, return or weekly train tickets.

  24. Melanie says:

    This is sneaky and sucks massive
    I’m a correspondence full-time student via open universities and since they don’t recognise this – I don’t get concession, and I work at the airport, so yeah looks like I’ll have to find a job sometime soon because paying the 12 station access fee everytime I tap off and on ain’t cool at all. It’s cheaper for me to buy weekly right now and yeah I hope they still keep it, or change the fee system and have something in place for those that work at the airport.

  25. Pete says:

    I’m going to buy a MyMulti Zone 3 yearly on August 31 !

  26. Jason W says:

    A simple solution is to apply a per fare discount for customers who recharge in advance with a sum which would have corresponded to a quarterly or yearly ticket. It allows the planners at transport a more certain planning horizon as they have guaranteed funds in the kitty from prepaid tickets. Itthen removes any hint that this is a fare increase by stealth – because there wont be any.

  27. Simon says:

    Well done. Although shouldn’t they be retiring all yearly’s so they can decommission the readers in a years’ time?

  28. Richard says:

    The thing which annoys me most (well, only slightly more than that I’ll have to pay just over $444 more per year – and remember to “tap-off” when getting off buses) is all of those ads which state (nothing more, nothing less): “Save with Opal” – with no asterisk, T & C apply, etc. I find that highly misleading – and an outright lie. it’s a global statement, but is invalid, when applied globally. I will not save with Opal – nor will many other people.

  29. Lily says:

    I have been using the Opal card since mid April and have been overcharged 3 times so average once per month. 3 times the system recorded as No tap off when i clearly had to tap off to get out of North Sydney station. My conclusion is the Opal system is a rip off system. I urge commuters to check their Opal activity log regularly.

  30. Lily says:

    I am going to leave the Opal card for the odd trips and will go back to a yearly ticket which is more reliable. I dont have time to ring up every time the fare is charged incorrectly. The first time i had to wait about 10 mins on the phone. The second time i sent email and its been 2 weeks with no reply. The third time happened this afternoon and i guess i have to ring tomorrow. Opal card sucks….

  31. Bob says:

    What Sydney needs is a coherent vision of how to improve the mobility of its residents at a sustainable cost to taxpayers. Ticketing and fare structures play an important role in this, as does network design and infrastructure planning.

    I sometimes feel sorry for Gladys. I’m guessing she doesn’t get good advice from Transport for NSW. The vision thing doesn’t seem to be their strong suit. And no doubt there is some very unhelpful input from Treasury officials.

    Sorry Treasury, but the answer does not lie in conventional economic theory. Sydney’s transport is a system and it has emergent properties which are not present in its constituent parts. So for starters, let’s forget about reductionist pricing policies which punish or reward passengers depending on which mode they use, or if they happen to change modes as part of their journey.

    Let’s also avoid pandering to the narcisists who feel personally affronted by any change in pricing which causes them to pay a little more than they currently do. Its not mathematically possible for everyone to come out ahead.

    If we want to have a more liveable city with less car traffic congestion, the fare structure must make public transport more attractive than driving. That means heavily discounted weekly, monthly and annual multi modal tickets with a common zone structure – and higher single ticket fares to compensate. “Pay for what you use” is exactly the opposite of what we need. We don’t want passengers to ration their use of public transport. We want people to use public transport more, which is what they will do if they have a periodical ticket.

    This not what you learn when studying economics at university, but it is what happens in practice in most of Europe. City residents there use public transport four times as much as Sydneysiders and public transport subsidies are much less than here. Maybe the economic dogma is wrong.

    The lack of multimodal periodical options is a weird omission from the Opal Card. It is available on Oyster cards and Myki. Why does Sydney miss out?

  32. Simon says:

    Urgh Bob. How does it follow that periodical options promote PT use? I suggest the opposite. The sacrificed fare revenue only increase fares generally which does reduce PT use and the inconvenience from having to load the periodical is a deterrent too.

    Periodical options are a stuck in the past idea. Needed for paper systems, but not now.

  33. Bob says:

    Simon – I live at Balmain East, about 1.5 km from Woolworths at Balmain. If I bought a My Multi ticket each month, I’d take the bus up Darling Street everytime I needed to go the shops, as well as use it to travel to work or go to the football etc. But if I have a “pay as you go” ticket product, I’d drive my car to Woolworths, because pay as you go encourages individuals to ration public transport use.

    If everyone used periodical tickets, the cost of public transport would be less (no need for ticket gate barriers or grumpy gate hands at train stations).

    The problem with Sydney’s periodical tickets is that the price is actually too high! In Zurich, where public transport use is four times higher than Sydney’s, and cost recovery is twice as high, a monthly ticket is 19 times higher than a single train ticket. In Sydney, a MyMulti 1 monthly is 53 times higher! This is why almost everyone uses periodical tickets in Zurich.

  34. Simon says:

    Regarding Zurich, you don’t think that could be because of other factors besides the presence of periodicals.

    Your first paragraph contains the killer if: “If I had a periodical”. In Sydney, approximately a quarter of people use PT for their usual trip to work or study (source: ABS). I’d be surprised if you tried to argue that these people aren’t the ones that the periodical tickets are for. What you are saying is that by getting this quarter to travel more it’s OK to put up the price for the other three quarters and therefore have them travel less. Do you see the problem with your argument?

  35. @Bob –

    With the current free travel after the first 8 journeys, a quick bus trip down the road (to Woolworths, as one example provided) is a great way to reduce your weekly public transport fare as it brings forward your free travel to earlier in the week (or is after you have free travel, in which case it is free). I’ve done this myself to do a quick return bus trip to the shops, costing me $2.10 thanks to the 60 minute transfer, rather than driving.

  36. David says:

    An equivalent weekly ticket for employees travelling to the airport will go up to approx $163.60! Up from $61. With the removal of the paper tickets the 8 trip cap does not recognise the airport link gate charge and employees will be forced to pay the gate charge everytime they tap through. Currently a weekly paper ticket incorporates 1 gate charge for the week. Further reason to remove the rediculous gate charge and allow, employees to use the train to their place of work like the rest of Sydney.

  37. Simon says:

    It’s not quite as bad as that. They can still buy a weekly gate pass and a MyMulti weekly.

  38. David says:

    Oh fantastic! So from my station, Epping, I will now have to buy a Mymulti 2, $54 + a weekly gate charge, $21 = $75 per week. Only a 22% increase! Equating to a daily charge of $15 per day for a standard working week. I will, like the vast majority of airport employees drive to work, further contesting roads! Don’t be expecting your next flight to leave on time, the traffic is out of control because of this poor policy. Astonishing, given that the current governments review recommends scrapping the charge.

  39. Simon says:

    The review recommended no such thing. There was a minority opinion which did indeed recommend reducing/removing the charge, but the majority were in favour of no government money being directed at it.

    I argue that there should be a congestion charge for driving to the airport (either terminal) and that the charge should be adjusted for the changing demand on a revenue neutral basis.

  40. David says:

    From the parliamentary review,

    “Recommendation 5, That Transport for NSW model the most appropriate method, and publically report the findings, to remove the station usage fee for weekly tickets for workers in the Sydney Airport precinct to Domestic and International Airport stations. If found feasible, then Transport for NSW should enter into negotiations with Airport Link Company to implement this measure.”

    I don’t think this states a 22% increase in weekly tickets, or a 200% price increase of ordinary Sydney rail station fees, ie. Mascot or Wooli Creek stations.

  41. Simon says:

    Also, it’s not too late to buy a yearly which should sort you out until something is done about the situation. Wouldn’t that be better than whinging about it?

  42. Simon says:

    Right, but that recommendation only refers to workers – not the absolute scrapping of the charge. And is qualified to boot with “If found feasible” etc.

  43. David says:

    I hardly think that pointing out government recommendations that have not been followed is whinging. The fact remains however, that there a large number of low paid employees that cannot afford to drive, nor can they afford to take such a high financial hit. The policy requires immediate attention and responsible action from government employees tasked with reviewing and commenting on its progress.

  44. David says:

    Certainly a step in the right direction.
    The improvements to the train network and reliability have been excellent and the Opal system generally works very well. I believe that further improvements by following recommendations of the Parlimentary committee will see great benefits for tourism and general business for Sydney in the future.

  45. dalia says:

    what i found very annoying about the opal card is that it is impossible to buy it at the station; you have to go to a newsagent. well today the newsagent at my local station said his machine was not working, so i could not top up. this is outrageous. there should be machines at the station for topping up and it should be possible to top up with station tellers. why only newsagents???

  46. Simon says:

    They want everyone to use auto top up. You mightn’t like it, but they aren’t likely to go out of their way to entrench human interaction with ticket sellers at stations. They really would like to get rid of them all.

  47. Shamine says:

    Hi guys Opal has put a cap on airport access fee to $21 per week. That means you can tap on and off as much you want for just that. It’s on their website. . So if you travel to work to airport 5 times a week it’s actually cheaper than the old system:
    Tap on station AM: $3.30 (based on my station I travel off-peak)
    Tap on airport weekly: $21
    Tap off station PM: $3.30
    6.60×4 days + $21 =$47.40 is all you pay a week to travel to and from airport. On peak returns would be around $10 more.
    If the Weekly Travel Award doesn’t apply then additional $6.60 is charged for the 5th day.

  48. Shamine says:

    The only way to earn your Weekly *Reward is if you also travel by bus or ferry 4 days a week. Which will cap your weekly fare to $60 plus weekly station access $21. Total to= $81.

  49. Classoldi says:

    I am a country person who travels to Sydney occassionally and have had the need to then use city rail trains. I only ever buy single one way tickets as needed and travle off peak. Looking at what City Rail are doing, I guess I will now just use taxis or any other alterantive. I also guess that CityRail will loose money. I doubt they care as all of the current ticketing staff will be gone and those wages saved.

  50. Laurence says:

    After hesitating about Opal (the first time I checked the prices it only compared MyBus 2 trips, I only travel short or long distances i.e. My Bus 1 or 3), I checked the prices at the newsagent and was quite taken aback! Basically as someone who regularly uses public transport twice a week I would pay an extra $1.64 per return journey! (The shorter trips are 32c extra). Thus I purchased two different MyBus Tens, and will continue to do so.

    Twice a month I take a rather long metropolitan train journey…now I am ripped off, there is no off-peak return! Last time I grabbed a lift from someone and didn’t need to take the train. This Opal card system will put those who use the system a couple of times a week, but not daily, off public transport and just overcrowd the system.

    The card is bad for bus users for two reasons a) SLOWS down bus passengers, as before, just as now, there are daytime pre-pay services, but instead of someone inserting a ticket once, they now tap Opal when boarding and leaving the bus as well! b) You cannot pay for a friend, with MyBus Ten you can insert the ticket again for your fellow traveller.

    Just because something may improve train ticketing doesn’t mean it improves bus ticketing, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach for public transport…anyone who thinks the massive discounts Opal has for daily travellers will last forever has their head in the sand! One day they’ll see the discounts are too much and you’ll pay more.

  51. Nathanael says:

    A $40 deposit? That’s the highest transit card deposit/fee in the entire WORLD. Really. Typical deposits are US$1-$2, with US$5 being on the absurdly high side.

    Not available for purchase in train stations? Absurd! Every system in the world makes their smartcard purchaseable in every metro station.

    Most people will be using singles or returns. If they try to force those users to Opal, they’ll find massive drops in patronage as people start driving.

  52. Simon says:

    Nonsense Nathanael. It’s a $0 deposit but a $40 minimum spend online. Majority of people are embracing the card so it seems your doomsday scenario is just wrong.

    FWIW, Qld has a $10 refundable deposit, Vic has a $6 non-refundable deposit.

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