The days of remembering to top up your Opal card or carrying loose change are ending: from today, ferry and light rail users will be able to pay for fares using contactless payments. Here's what you need to know.
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Well, we knew it was coming. From today, the free weekend travel bonus for weekly commuters has been quietly scrapped in NSW. Instead, you will now need to pay half-price after completing eight trips. In addition, single trip tickets have also been increased. Transport NSW is calling the fare hike "fairer" -- but depending on where you live, you could be worse off by hundreds of dollars a year.
From August 1, the vast majority of paper tickets will no longer be available for users of public transport in NSW. Instead, all commuters will be forced to use the Opal e-card system for most train, bus and ferry rides. This includes trips to the airport. Here is the full list of every ticket type that is being "retired" in favour of Opal cards.
Have you ever tapped off your Opal card and had a sneaking feeling that the fare was too high? If you regularly travel in Sydney's CBD, your suspicions could be well-founded. An investigation by Opal calculator app developer Kenneth Tsang has unearthed a so-called "CBD Increment" surcharge which sees commuters slugged up to 82 cents more for every journey. Tch.
The NSW government has accepted the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART)'s proposal to kill off free trips on Opal. From June 1, you'll no longer receive free trips on public transport after completing eight journeys in one week. Instead, a 50% discount will be offered for each additional trip. Boo-urns.
Public transport in NSW is about to get a whole lot more expensive thanks to sweeping changes proposed by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). From July 1, there will likely be no more free weekly travel after eight journeys. In addition, fares will be going up 4.2 per cent each year for the next three years. Here's how much more you'll be paying after the price hikes.
If you're not a fan of Opal, we have some good news for you: NSW Transport has announced plans to trial a new contactless payment system using commuters' credit and debit cards. This means you'll be able to tap on and tap off Sydney's trains, buses and ferries without the need for a ticket or smart card. Hurrah!
When Sydney Trains first made the switch from paper tickets to Opal cards, it actively encouraged commuters to exploit a free travel loophole. It seems that too many people took the government up on its offer. From today, the number of transfers needed to make a journey has been raised to stop people "improperly earning" free travel. Tch.
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.
Feel like there are too many cards in your wallet? Sydneysiders may soon be able to shrink theirs a little, with the Commonwealth Bank confirming it is actively working to build cards that incorporate the sometimes controversial Opal smartcard for Sydney public transport.
An independent study from the makers of personal finance app Pocketbook has found that most Sydney commuters are spending 10-15% extra on their weekly travel since Opal cards replaced paper tickets. Only around 14 per cent are better off.