Opal card trial for bus customers begins

Published 26th September, 2013 in Transport

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian has announced the first trial of the Opal card on a bus route will begin next week, three months ahead of schedule.

The trial will commence next Monday September 30, 2013 on the 594/594H route operated by Transdev NSW, between Hornsby, North Turramurra and Town Hall.

"This is fantastic news for public transport customers, as more people can now enjoy the convenience and benefits of using an Opal card," Ms Berejiklian said.

"Customers are embracing the Opal card and I’m pleased the trial for buses can now begin on this selected route as we continue the steady rollout.

"The rollout of Opal on all Sydney Ferries services was completed in August, and the progressive rollout onto trains is going well, so it is great news we have been able to start this trial on buses earlier than expected."

The bus rollout is the most technically challenging mode because once complete the electronic ticketing system needs to be constantly communicating with more than 5,000 buses driving around Sydney and the regions, Ms Berejiklian said.

Ms Berejiklian today also announced Opal fares for buses, including:

  • Cheaper adult single bus fares of between two and five per cent;
  • An Opal Weekly Travel Reward, earned with eight paid journeys on buses, trains, ferries or light rail, making regular travel cheaper than a MyBus TravelTen;
  • Three distance based Opal fare bands – similar to the current MyBus fare bands though with lower prices than paper tickets;
  • A more customer-friendly bus-to-bus transfer fare system - if your transfer is made within 60 minutes, you will only be charged one fare corresponding to your whole bus journey, compared to two fares currently with paper tickets on buses.

"With Opal we are offering cheaper fares for bus customers, and incentives for regular users," Ms Berejiklian said.

"Following the successful completion of customer trials, the Opal card will be progressively rolled out to other services across the bus network on both government and privately operated buses, to be completed by the end of 2014," Ms Berejiklian said.

The 594/594H route was selected because it includes a long distance, and travels into the CBD. 

Opal card readers are placed inside the doors of a bus, and customers will need to tap on when they board the bus, and tap off when leaving the bus.

"Tapping off buses will be a new behaviour for people to get used to, but this has been easily adopted by customers in cities like Brisbane and Perth," Ms Berejiklian said.

"It is important to tap off so the distance travelled by the customer on the bus can be determined and the correct fare deducted from the balance of the Opal card."

Electronic ticketing is already available on all Sydney Ferries services, and is at train stations from the CBD north to Chatswood, in addition to the City Circle and east to Bondi Junction.

Come 2015, 40 ferry wharves, more than 300 train stations and more than 5,000 buses and light rail will have Opal equipment operating in Sydney, the Hunter, Central Coast, the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and the Blue Mountains.

Published 26th September, 2013 in Transport