The end of Opal card runs....

Seems ipart is proposing to implement measures to kill off the loophole in Opal card use, where some of us take many short trips early in the week and get the rest of the week free.

Full details here: http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Industries/Transport/Public...

News and comments here: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/end-looms-for-150-million-opal-car...

Key change is:

Making weekly travel discounts fairer
by eliminating the perverse incentive for regular commuters to take unnecessary shorter trips earlier in the week to qualify for free travel on their longer and more expensive trips later in the week, costing the system more.
Under the current structure where all travel is free after 8 journeys, the 62% of passengers who travel fewer than 9 times a week are subsidising those who travel more often, costing around $150 million each year.

IPART is instead proposing a new fairer weekly travel credit arrangement which combines a weekly spending cap and frequency discounts in one scheme. The scheme is designed to reduce the subsidy going from one group of customers to another, while still protecting customers from higher weekly expenditure. Under the proposed new arrangements, passengers would pay for all their journeys as they go and get a credit at the end of the week so that they would only end up paying for their 10 longest journeys, up to a maximum of $65 a week (up from the current $60 per week).

Related Stores

Opal Card - NSW Government
Opal Card - NSW Government

Comments

  • +5 votes

    Err so.. calculating this, under the current scheme I take 14 trips a week (because a return ticket counts as two trips). Out of the 14 trips, only the first 8 trips are charged to my account. That means I get 6 free rides.

    To make the math's simple, let us assume that each trip only costs me $2. Under the old system, I get 6 trips free which equates to $12 worth of Opal credit.

    In the new system, I will only get 4 trips free, so the number of 'free trips' has actually decreased and I'm now only saving $8.

    So, is this a lose-lose for everyone?

    • +3 votes

      Hmm. For the rest of us who work 5 days a week. It's a big lose-lose !!!

      We used to pay for 8 trips. Now we have to pay for 10 trips ?!

      •  

        10 longest, up to your cap, which I'm thinking is equal to value of 8x full fares

      • +1 vote

        With the weekly $60 cap, I actually never reached it with the 8 paid journeys, but with the new cap there is practically no saving at all if it's going to be 10 journeys -_- though I guess they will be upping the fares to "implement" this new system anyway.

        Plus there goes everyone's weekly exercise :P

        • +1 vote

          Same here. Even with 10 trips I don't reach the $65 cap. (profanity) this price hike in disguise.

    • +1 vote

      journeys, not trips.

    • +6 votes

      Honeymoon is over, 95% switched to OPAL, now it's time to tighten the screws. Simple as that.

    •  

      Time to buy a yearly card?

    •  

      Are you a part of the IPART panel?

  • +11 votes

    subsidising those who travel more often, costing around $150 million each year.

    I dont understand this at all. The bus/train/ferry/light-rail these users are catching would be running regardless if the people that have figured out how to make their weekly free travel start earlier catch them or not.

    Didn't Gladys Berejiklian say she wanted people to try and exploit the system?

    • +7 votes

      She did. And people did. And I suspect that's exactly what they wanted. They wanted people to exploit the system so they can patch the system.

      •  

        ? why they need people to exploit so they can patch? they can just hire their own staff to do the testing. no need to speak up in the newspapers

        • +1 vote

          Maybe that's what i said is not the case but i was just a bit skeptical :) The general public will always find loop hole don't you think !

        •  

          @tomleonhart: it is now Andrew Constance not Gladys Berejiklian. Glady move up to treasurer. Andrew Constance maybe like a guy coming to stop these happening from Glady days. He used ripping taxpayers phrase number of times on many of his speeches

          as i know, once you top up on a opal machine e.g. $200 opal account. the money already theirs. then is all about how we use our opal top-up money to travel.

          All these talks just about getting more out of the from daily commuters try to save and make ends meet

      • +2 votes

        yeah she prolly wanted them to exploit it, love the system
        and after a year fix it up

        better than having this system at the start and people hating it from the start

        at least they got a 1 year of good vibes!

        •  

          so, its more like give some candy then take it away.. so harsh~!

        •  

          The free rides after 8 trips is an incentive for people to start using Opal. If there were no such incentive, people would continue to use the paper tickets and travel passes. That would've made the Opal rollout a bit slower.

        •  

          @scrimshaw:
          No choice from Jan 2016 no more paper tickets

        •  

          @neonlight:

          Still can pay for single trips

        •  

          @aldoduco:

          Don't think regular commuters have ever really done that in the last 30 years.

        •  

          @neonlight: Do you think they are going to remove all the green magnetic strip machines from the buses as of 2016… i stocked up on travel 10s earlier this year (as they were getting hard to find) and still have a bunch left :/

        •  

          @chriskq: I got a few as well. You can tell the bus driver I still got the paper ticket.

          The thing is as I said….They haven't STOPPED accepting paper tickets just they no longer SELL paper tickets after 1st Jan 2016

        •  

          @neonlight: Thats that i thought also from what i've read, but when i looked at the chart it looks like no more types of paper BUS tickets are being sold so i double guessed myself.

  • +2 votes

    try living in qld, trains are more expensive than business class tickets to europe…

    gold coast to brisbane $160 a week…. may as well drive, and thats why our roads r congested…..

    i know a few guys who take bus trips to the casino on mon-wed just tio walk back

    •  

      I knew someone who used to come in early so he could stop off for a coffee in the middle of his morning commute - so he'd hit his free trips by about Thursday.

      •  

        did he catch train at 5am, stop half way get coffee, get back on at 8am…. thats extreme….
        one of my mates lives practically next to the bus stop… he runs out at 9pm or so gets on it, for the whole 800m, gets off has a smoke and walks home….

        •  

          I don't remember what time he said, but he was commuting from the Gold Coast to Brisbane already.

        •  

          @macrocephalic: stop in woodridge for a coffee

          ive contemplated going one station peak hour… getting off sit around for 2 hours and then get off peak train… but guess my time is more valuable….

          if i had kids id order them to do bus runs at night

        •  

          @unclesnake: I think he stopped at Roma Street, had a coffee etc, then took the train from Roma Street to Central.

    •  

      Why would people live on the Gold Coast and commute to Brissy for work every day? That is a fair hike!

      •  

        good question….
        grew up here, is my home and feel at home here and know the people/area, and like to live near the water i guess….even though i seldom go.

        the train ride itself inst that long, i can handle an hour each way….

        but when the train is packed like the clacutta express, and charges i think 130 a week to stand, its a joke…its express somewhat but goes about 30kms an hour through some places as the infrastructure sucks…

        and as it goes north/south, the eastern side of the train in the mornings sucks, and vice versa in the evenings…

        i grew up on south side, and find after eigh miles plains(fruitgrove) or so, the suburbs are dumps until about ormeau/coomera

        interested on others thoughts

  • +21 votes

    why not bring back the weekly deal then?

    we can pre-purchase a weekly, monthly, and have them loaded onto our opal cards and use it that way instead.

    It's all just a scam to get more money!

    • +2 votes

      why not bring back the weekly deal then?

      You answered your own question.

      It's all just a scam to get more money!

  • +10 votes

    A weekend daily cap of $7.20 for adults, on Saturday and Sunday should also be implemented. The tribunal said this would encourage people to use public transport on the weekend

    I'm having a laugh right now.

    •  

      laughing about the suggested price cap - or that they are hoping more people will take public transport on the wend. Or both?

  •  

    It's a draft report. The government doesn't have to take its final recommendation for transport pricing, as far as I know.

  • +4 votes

    "the tribunal's proposed changes would mean more than 60 per cent of passengers would pay less for public transport"

    What I don't get is, the people they're referring to, who travel less than 8 times a week, were already getting a discounted fare under opal, and now will end up paying even less. So the people who don't need to use public transport, hardly pay, but the ones who do, end up getting screwed.

    Also, they says they will charge you for every trip, and apply a credit at the end of the week. If you take a lot of trips, you'll need to have heaps of money on your card to keep travelling. If I have a busy week, I could easily spend $80 or more on trips. Also, the system is so bad at actually remembering what trips you did, I don't foresee it being able to apply the correct credits. You'll need to manually keep a log of all trips you make.

  •  

    They desperately need a way to recoup the declined revenue from the past year

    • +21 votes

      Why? Public transport shouldn't make a profit. PT is a benefit to society, so even it's making a substantial loss it's probably making a profit (monetarily and socially) overall.

      • +1 vote

        It's like a hidden tax, the money they make should be put back into upgrading and upkeep of infrastructure.

      • +1 vote

        http://www.itnews.com.au/news/opal-card-behind-nsw-public-tr...

        "the revenue decline means cost recovery from public transport fares continues its year-on-year drop, with commuters now covering an average of just 18.4 percent of the cost of their journey, down 0.7 percent in 2013-14"

        declined revenue =/= from earning profit to loss

        NSW public transports is always at loss, that's why it's subsidised by our tax money. But if they can maintain the revenue, the extra subsidise can be directed for better cause

      •  

        They've never made a profit, fares only cover approximately 30% of the cost to run the railway. The issue here is lost revenue I suspect.

        • +1 vote

          The issue is why they have such high expenses? Opal card introduction? Guards waiving their flags at the stations? Maintaining costly machines? Placing train signs ? Renting buses from the bus companies at the weekend? Having 10 workers at a site, and only 1 working?
          They now they will be subsidized, and therefore do nothing to check their costs.

          Oh, here is one:
          "The revenue situation wasn't helped by 15,000 Opal card reader breakdowns in the last financial year, more than half of which took place on public buses. Transport for NSW has been unable to estimate the value of lost revenue."

        •  

          @cameldownunder:

          Having more "admin" staff at head office that do absolutely nothing to make the train system actually work.

      • +1 vote

        Everything in Australia needs to make a profit, societal benefits are secondary - nothing is free here - have not not realised that? ;-)
        Want to go to Chandler Market in Brisbane? Pay an entry fee for the weekly Sunday market.
        Want to go to Octoberfest in Brisbane? Pay $20 entry fee plus of course what you consume while the original has no entry fee (the city gets its money from the stallholders - Brisbane does to but basically double dips and also get the entry fee).

        My advice: if you are about saving money, buy only what you cannot get shipped in Australia such as fresh fruit, food and what you really need urgently. Everything else, buy online and get shipped. You will save several thousands every year (family of 4) with very little effort.

  • +2 votes

    Regardless of how they stuff up the next set of rules, I agree that multi-mode rules do need to be changed. Opal has somewhat mimicked London's Oyster card socioeconomic hierarchy where the poor catch 4 buses in peak hour traffic to save a few pounds a day while the rich cruise to their destination in 20 minutes on a lightning fast train (although ironically, Sydney's richer suburbs are less likely to have trains).

    But I also don't understand Australian public transport's obsession with screwing people over on Saturdays. In Adelaide, Saturdays are always peak fares??! If that's their way to make money, fine - but don't turn it on the people for not wanting to use public transport on their days off. In Sydney, under the current and even proposed system most M-F 9-5 workers get the weekend free anyway, so they were and will be only punishing the casual workers regardless.

    I like the $2.50 cap on Sundays. It incentivises locals and visitors to actually see Sydney and may convince you to go to that friend's kid's birthday party, who you haven't seen since they moved to Penrith. I wonder if it's made any difference to transport behaviour though.

  •  

    its sad.. already imagine my fares would roughly go up to $40+ a week now instead if doing opal run $15-$17.10

    Their talks about reward credits instead for free 8 trips are just plain useless

    seriously not the free trip. im not considering an opal card at the beginning

    more article

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/travel/train-bus-fer...

    according to this article. so even senior gets worst off removing daily $2.5 cap.

  • +5 votes

    Nice. They stop selling Travel10s in January to spring this on us.

    So sick of getting screwed over for using public transport.

  •  

    The proper way is, free trips after four exact same return trips, ie pay full from Monday to Thursday then free till Sunday. This is for full time workers working five days a week.

    • -1 vote

      That's right, Sunday rates were fair ($2.5?), if Fridays are not going to be free, then what is the point? who travels on a Saturday or Sunday anyway!

      •  

        a lot people without cars~ cars is bad investments and in efficient way to transport humans. that is, if infrastructure are good.
        saturday and sunday should be flat $5 each day.
        you know you can go to blue mountain from sydney on sunday and pay $2.50 now, right?

  • +1 vote

    MYKI is so freaking simple when compared to this Opal crap.
    Simple 2 hour and daily cap, so easy.

    None of this credits at the end of the week rubbish. Just making the system more complicated for no reason whatsoever

    • +8 votes

      MYKI has not been without its own technical headaches, cost blow outs, slowness etc.

      In hindsight all state governments should have pooled resources, and said 'lets work together in spirit of co-operation and giving our citizens who voted for us a cost effective solution and create a single public transport system' … A card that would work in any state allowing you to get on train at say melbourne, go to airport (once / if our airport rail link is done), fly to sydney, get off at sydney and use the same card to travel to the cbd on sydneys train system.

      Now that would be 'easy'…

      •  

        Don't disagree that a national system probably would have been better than all the individual cards.

        I have about a dozen different cards as it is from Sydney, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Bangkok, Singapore, Perth, Brisbane and a handful of others I can't remember. Multiple of many of those too

      • +6 votes

        Well yeah, we could do that.

        But I, as a politician would prefer the sub-optimal solution (but optimal in terms of bribes and kickbacks for my buddies and I).

  • +3 votes

    It does not sound to be helpful at all, most of frequent travellers use public transport 5 days a week, Monday to Friday, which means they only get one day free out of 4 paid days. Now, almost no one gets a free ride which I could guess from the beginning when paper ticketing started getting changed.
    They just increase the prices every now and then, but the quality of the "service" is horrible comparing to countries like Sudan, Indonesia, Gambia, Philipines, Vietnam, Cambodia,… let alone developed countries!
    Public Transport is very sloooooow, always late, dirty, trains not having enough cars, people have to stand for hours, stinky,…
    On the other hand, our roads are from decades ago, the system is slow and not roadworthy itself! Imagine they call it "Highway" and Max speed is 60Km/h and 40Km/h in school zones if you ever reach that speed as the road is always packed, our time is worth nothing, life is cheap!
    and….
    and…
    and…

    • +2 votes

      Philippines and good public transport in a single paragraph?
      Unless you're talking about how not good it is.

      • +1 vote

        Yeah the Philippines is pushing it. In fact, Manila is often touted as having some of the worst traffic in the world (with a recent user-submitted survey from Waze maintaining that reputation). I walked from EDSA to Manila Airport T3 and a taxi offered me a ride as I overtook him with a slow-paced walk. Almost unbelievably (well not for Sydney-siders), the country’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is only "projected" to arrive in Cebu in 2018 after being proposed in the 1990s. Cities with the population-density of Manila and Cebu probably need a ubiquitous subway system but I wouldn't bet on it coming any time soon.

      •  

        Exactly, still the same level as Australia!

    • +1 vote

      Lol. I like your comment, however putting the word quality of service comparing to Vietnam is a bit far fetch. They don't even have tram/ railway over there. Not yet anyway.

      •  

        That was the point!

    •  

      How about you quote some real information before rubbishing the public transport and comparing Australia to less developed nations.

      •  

        You don't like this? Improve it so we can compare it to Taiwan? Malaysia maybe?! or maybe in another 100 years we can talk about Germany? or Japan?!

        •  

          Suggest you take a look at the published performance figures for Sydney Trains.

        • +3 votes

          @CLoSeR:
          Suggest you take a train in Japan and take a Sydney SnailRail Train.
          It'll feel like you've been on a 100 highway in Japan (I'm talking about the Standard commuter trains, not the bullet trains), then permanently dunked in a 40 School Zone.
          Also, buses. I personally use buses few times a week, and I'm at the second stop in the city. The first stop is around the corner. Why do buses either no-show or are 15 minutes late in low-traffic times?
          Doesn't make sense to me.

        • +1 vote

          Malaysia?
          Have you been to Kuala Lumpur?

          Melbourne is decades and decades ahead.

          You seriously have no clue what you are talking about.

  • +4 votes

    Seriously. We have not see any significant improvement on Sydney transport, thats for my entire time since move to here.

    If they have intention to upgrade their service to daily commuters, it would be justified for fare increase. Sydney train can have issues at any point of time causing you delays and shit, stress to travel during peak hours. it is almost like Sydney Train own a right that we could not improve our service. Once delay, you stuff up connect to bus etc..

    Opal fare $15-$20 (with opal run) make this Fair value with poor quality of sydney transport system. Increase fares yet no quality improve add on is a complete CASH GRAB from daily commuters just try to save.

    And whats with plain useless the new opal rewards credit systems. Who have actual time and effort to rigorously follow it to get advantage overall…

  • +5 votes

    The $2.50 sunday is great for the city weekend economy. Much more worthwhile to catch train to city and go shopping/play. Otherwise car parking on Sunday is $10 all day. If they raise Sunday train tix, then it can make more sense to drive to city for a family of 4-5 or avoid all together.

  •  

    Screw this just drive! Also bus tickets TravelTen is still cheaper that Opal so screw Opal

  • +2 votes

    I had a feeling something like this was coming. It seemed obvious to charge for the 8 most expensive trips rather than the first 8. A bit like the BOGOF deals where you always pay for the more expensive of the two items.

    I have reduced my weekly cost from $39 to $22 by using the system to my advantage and catching buses outside work for one stop on a Monday and Tuesday. It will be a shame if this opportunity goes but I can't say I wasn't expecting it.

  • +1 vote

    We did it OzBargain!

  •  

    So State Government is the dog wagging IPART's tail now? I thought the traditional role of a review tribunal was to assess, as a third party, proposals given to them by Governments and other parties? As their page states - "We have been asked by the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure…"

    I'm struggling to find the "independent" in IPART's name here, and find this a major flaw and letdown.

  • +3 votes

    Also, one example from the SMH link above - the $150million 'costing' of lost revenue is highly debatable. This figure could be easily inflated - for example, after I reach my 8 trips each week, I continue to tap on but stop tapping off. Say I then tapped on at Central for another 10 train trips in a week but didn't tap off. There's potentially $83 a week of 'lost' revenue (max fare x10 trips). Suddenly, there's $4000 a year 'lost revenue' - for one commuter!

    It's a bit rich don't you think? Especially since State Gov't have my money in advance of any future travel. Here are a number of things I flagged about opal almost 6 months ago now that feel shockingly relevant today https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/200857#comment-2868848

    •  

      I agree with the inflated $150m part, definitely inflated.

      • +1 vote

        They do this for every stat.

        I hate stats because without the full context it can be twisted to support anything.
        Sadly alot of general public believe it as gospel truth.

        I agree that the 'loophole' losses would have been factored in. As idiotic as they are, it was pretty simple to figure out that exploit. I know alot of people who moved onto opal simply because of that - exactly as the govt hoped.

  • +1 vote

    Why should the public transport have profit? or save money? If during the past 100 years nothing has significantly improved?
    Our expensive public transport makes money more than anywhere else! The way they look at it, that's the problem!
    If they want to save money, eliminate thousands of onboard ticket checkers, 90% of the people in public transport walking around doing nothing including their entire useless management, especially in bus section (tribble service, worse than trains and ferries), and put that money back into the system!

    • +3 votes

      agree ^. they supposed to loose money its public services!
      and talking about inefficiency, please have a look when they have track work maintenance schedule on weekend. so many yellow vest "technicians" just sitting talking and playing phones, obviously with getting weekend double rate.

      •  

        i heard from a bus driver that the gov will be looking to outsource the whole system….

  • -2 votes

    I used to work for the railways and I guarantee you, they make NO money. IF the government wanted the user to pay, you'd be paying up to 7 times more than you do now. It costs a lot of dollar to run trains.

    The user is paying maybe 30% of costs and it's highly unlikely this will increase. Seriously, stop whining.

    •  

      I wonder how much of those goes towards human resources costs, I've heard a lot of 'great' stories about lazy/inefficient public servants.

      I didn't neg you by the way.

    • -1 vote

      wait 7 times = 30%… hmmm

      You do know that if there was no public transport they'd have to pay for the more inefficient roads… that the economy would suffer in the 100s of billions in terms of lost productivity and the ability to get workers to jobs

      • +2 votes

        I'm in no way defending them here. I don't care about it either way. I don't use public transport. I'm also not good at math.

        I'm just saying that I know for a fact it costs way more to run the trains than they will ever get back in fares.

        In Australia, because of the excessive and ongoing heat, track maintenance eats up a lot. There are a lot of factors involved in operating trains here in Au that the general user has no idea about. This includes what appears to be useless timetabling.

        • -1 vote

          what you're claiming is public information…

          What you choose to ignore is the cost without it.

          its suppose to run at a loss, if it was more expensive more people would use cars… resulting in more costs

    • +1 vote

      Sure, is that why year on year, without fail there'd be increases on public transport rates? Wasn't the introduction of Opal reduces the need for manning of the paper ticket kiosks/checkpoints thus introducing some efficiency whilst reducing costs (ink, paper etc)? Where had all the savings gone?

      Sickening when service is usually late, frequent breakdowns and no KPIs to indicate if they're doing better or worse year-on-year but the audacity to keep asking commuters to cop absorb higher rates for their inaptness. Take a leaf off Singapore, their increments are in single digit cents instead of full dollars and yes, they publish their KPIs (https://www.ptc.gov.sg/FactsAndFigures/chronologyOfFareAdjus...). Enough said about our govt.

      • +1 vote

        There are increases on charges via IPART for no other reason than another year has passed … but your wages go up, so do all the operating costs and wages for all that labour are included. And what about Singapore - are their wages comparable to Au? It is always going to come back to this.

        All train timetables in Sydney are worked out around the Illawara Junction, which is all those tracks directly after Redfern going west. It will be impossible to better current service until that junction is gone. Can you imagine, not just how much that would cost, but what it would take to change that junction?

        I guess the only solution is a private underground operator. Guaranteed that would cost a heap more, just like the airport link.

    •  

      They shouldn' need to make money. We pay taxes for this public transport.

  •  

    great timing aswell to coincide with the removal of paper cards on all buses ….smh

    •  

      stock up before new years buddy

  •  

    How about more people start cycling? lol i do not mean cycling steroids like lance Armstrong lol

    does any one care to tell me how far is to far to travel on foot or push bike before work?

    •  

      there isnt even a shower at my work… starting my morning off all sweaty, no thanks

    •  

      Cyclists are untrustworthy… Lance Armstrong anyone?

  • +5 votes

    At the moment i pay $9 a day to catch 2 buses to work and 2 buses home. I work 5 days a week and Friday is my travel free day.

    The ''overhaul and make fair for everyone'' means I will pay $9 extra per week + whatever the increase will be.

    Well (profanity) this S*it I'm voting the Sex Party in next election.

  •  

    Question.
    If we stock up on travel 10's before Jan 1, given many old ticket machines on services are not functioning and I cant imagine will be repaired, will these tickets still be valid after Jan 1 and will there be a grace period?

    Anyone know? I cant find info on nsw transport websites…

    •  

      many places and buses don't even have ticket readers anymore, so I don't see how feasible it is to continue using a Travel10.

      • -1 vote

        we are thinking of stocking up Travel10 since this news yesterday. went of to Woolies as best option with all their EDR reward card offers but already no woolies now selling pre-purchase tickets.

        Now we Opally stuck with new sydney transport pricing. Thanks to all this %$^&$#@ crap.

        Why can't they announce this crap earlier at least we can prepare for it

      •  

        I don't think they can stop accepting paper tickets for a while yet. There's got to be people with them still so at least a few months after not selling them makes sense.

        No selling and not accepting paper tickets are totally different

    •  

      Travel ten is the best thing ever. Opal can't match it no matter what. My Bus 3 especially is the cost effective way than Opal. None left at my local Woolies someone bulk buy in advance