Monday: Removal of paper tickets goes ahead without a major hitch
14 paper tickets, mostly long term periodicals, were no longer sold from Monday onwards, as the Opal rollout continues. Calls for customers to be patient by the Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian turned out to be unnecessary, with the Monday morning commute lacking the feared long queues at the ticket windows or confused customers unaware of how to use their new Opal card. The day was referred to as a “big success” and compared to the Y2K bug which was also much feared in the lead up to it but caused little to no issues.
Any retired tickets obtained prior to 1 September can be continued to be used until they expire. Opal has been rolled out to all trains and ferries, with 2,800 of the states 5,000 buses Opal enabled. Opal is scheduled to be rolled out to trams in early 2015, while pensioner and student/concession Opal cards are slated for late 2014 and early 2015 respectively.
Friday: Government and Sydney Airport get heated over Badgerys Creek
Federal Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs has suggested that the government will find a new partner to build and operate the planned airport at Badgerys Creek. The owners of the current Kingsford-Smith Airport at Mascot has first right of refusal over an airport at Badgerys Creek, meaning that the government must make them an offer and only if that offer is refused can the government make that exact same offer to others. Max Moore Wilton, the Chairman of the Sydney Airports Corporation that owns Kingsford-Smith, subsequently suggested Mr Briggs was a “talented amateur” and that Mr Moore-Wilton would go over Mr Brigg’s head to more senior ministers.