How To Travel All Week On Opal For Under $15

How To Travel All Week On Opal For Under $15

NSW’s Opal public transport smart card has a bit of a mixed reputation. While some commuters are better off under the new system, others are spending up to 15 per cent extra on their bus and train fares. If you’re in the latter camp and are based around Sydney, here’s a simple Opal hack that could reduce your total weekly expenditure by as much as $45.

Lifehacker reader Enrico and his mates produced the below video, which explains how to scam six cheap train journeys in under 30 minutes. Once completed, you only have to add two more trips to be eligible for free travel for the rest of the week. (Opal travel rewards are capped at six trips per day, so you’ll need to add the final return journey the day after.)

“Erskineville station and Macdonaldtown station are perfect for this hack as they are fairly close to each other and have Opal readers accessible without gates,” Enrico explains.

Another advantage of travelling between Erskineville station and Macdonaldtown is that they are in different zones and therefore count as separate trips: normally, your trips must have at least one full hour between them to be counted as separate journeys.

The same hack can be applied at various places around Sydney. The amount of money you save will depend on how close the stations are situated to each other and your willingness to hoof it around town. In the video demonstration, the total came to $14.85 — not bad for a full week of travel.

Here is the video:

For more sneaky transport smart cards hacks, check out our /”Evil Week” guide. You can also download Enrico’s Opal Card App to help you keep tabs on your spending.


  • Opal travel rewards are certainly not capped at “six trips per day”. There is a daily cap of $15 after which any further journeys are not counted towards the 8 journeys required to activate the Travel Reward. Theoretically you could achieve this in one day with 8 Bus 1 journeys:

    7 * $2.10 = $14.70 + 30 cents for the 8th and final journey = $15.00

    The catch here is the bus journeys have to be at least 1 hour apart, so it would take more than 8 hours to achieve this – something that is certainly not feasible for most commuters.

    If the Macdonaldtown – Erskineville (from now on to be referred to as MacErsk) run was to be used instead, the lowest amount possible would be $17.31. 7 Train 1 journeys during off-peak hours:

    6 * $2.31 = $13.86 + $1.14 for the 7th journey = $15.00
    One more run the following day + $2.31 = $17.31 (or probably smarter to do a Bus 1 journey +$2.10 = $17.10)

    I don’t know why the producers of the video chose to do 6 MacErsk runs, when clearly the 7th trip would be the biggest saving. And I certainly have no idea how the $14.85 figure is calculated but it’s certainly not feasible to get it this low. Perhaps it’s a bug in the app?

  • iv found tickets are still cheaper than opal for me going back and forward to work (and everything in between)

  • Public transport fares in Sydney are unnecessarily complicated.

    People that complain about how complicated Myki in Melbourne has obviously never been to Sydney.

  • Sydney should have adopted the Zone type ticketing like Translink in QLD
    It is similar to My Multi tickets in Sydney except you pay for the number of zones you travel through and its not based on how far from the CBD you are located, so as an example if you were on the central coast it would be still possible to pay for 1 zone like someone right in Sydney CBD.

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