Transport for New South Wales (Australia) is launching a customer trial of an electronic card (Opal) and ticketing system. Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian said the Opal card would launch with a customer trial from 7 December on the Neutral Bay ferry route. It would then be rolled out across greater Sydney for all Sydney Ferries, train, bus and light rail customers through to 2015.
Public transport customers using the Opal card will ‘tap on’ at the start of their trip on each mode and ‘tap off’ at the end, with the Opal card working much like an e-tag.
The Opal card is expected to be available for all Sydney Ferries’ customers, at more than 40 wharves from Parramatta to Manly, by the end of next year, with the roll out to trains starting on the City Circle in the second half of 2013.
Ongoing fares for the Opal card will be detailed next year following the ferry trial, but Berejiklian announced three key incentives will be in place to encourage uptake of the Opal card and greater public transport use. These incentives are available for Opal card customers as the electronic ticketing system is progressively rolled out across ferries, trains, buses and light rail. The incentives include:
A weekly reward providing free travel after eight paid journeys in a week;
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; and
A daily travel cap of $15 from Monday to Saturday—helping tourists and one-off users travel affordably using an Opal card.
There is no change to paper tickets or other fare products at this time.