Opal will be available to be used on the City Circle and at stations out to Bondi Junction as part of a customer trial beginning on 14 June, before being progressively rolled out for customers at more than 300 train stations by the end of next year.
Ms Berejiklian today also announced Opal fares for trains, which provide:
- A discount of up to 8 per cent compared to single paper ticket prices to encourage customers to switch to Opal;
- A further off-peak discount of 30 per cent for all journeys taken before or after the weekday morning and afternoon peaks, as well as all day on weekends. For the trial, this will be if customers tap on outside of 7.00am-9.00am and 4.00pm-6.30pm on weekdays. The Government will outline in more detail off-peak times for the rest of the network as the rollout progresses.
“Under Opal we are offering cheaper fares for customers across the network and a further discount for people who travel outside of the peak – our message to our customers is that is if you use trains on the weekend or if you can travel outside of the peak on weekdays, you’ll save even more,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“The start of Opal on trains signals the end of fumbling for coins and ticket queues on a Monday morning – customers can link their Opal card to their credit or debit card and never have to worry about buying a ticket again.
“Everything we are doing is about encouraging more people to use public transport.” Three other fare incentives will also be available to all Opal customers:
- A weekly reward providing free travel after eight paid journeys in a week – for example a customer using their Opal card paying for two journeys a day to and from work from Monday to Thursday will be eligible for unlimited free travel on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays;
- A $2.50 daily cap on Sundays for Opal card customers – travel all you want and it will cost no more than $2.50 per person.
- A daily travel cap of $15 from Monday to Saturday - helping tourists and one-off users travel affordably using an Opal card.
Opal card readers – where customers tap on and off - are being rolled out across the network. Customers will be able to use Opal once the readers are switched on at both their origin and destination, with rollout details to be provided at www.opal.com.au.
The new Opal website has been launched today, providing billing and usage information for customers.
The first stages of the rollout between now and March 2014 includes:
- City Circle and stations to Bondi Junction (customer trial);
- Stations north of the city to Chatswood (customer trial extension to include stations without gates);
- Stations from Redfern to Strathfield, Strathfield to Hornsby, Epping to Chatswood and north of Chatswood to Wyong on the Central Coast;
- Along the Western Line to Emu Plains and Richmond and stations from Strathfield to Liverpool via Regents Park.
“The rollout of Opal has been progressing well with a customer trial on Sydney Ferries since December and the start on trains marks a significant milestone for the project,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Rolling out to trains is a major step for the Opal card and the trial on the selected stations will allow customers to help us test the system.
“The rollout is complex and we are doing it in steps – we have learned from overseas that progressive rollouts work best and we expect there may be some hiccups along the way.
“Our trains move hundreds of thousands of people around Sydney every day, so we need to get it right by first trialling the system’s equipment and back office processes.”
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.