Over the course of the last few years, NSW has been moving towards a system of transport ticketing based upon a single smart-card, the Opal. Until now, as the Opal card was introduced, it has still been possible to use the old paper tickets for weekly or single-use trips. From today (1 August) the only way to travel will be to use an Opal card.
As the old system ends here are some of the different options for buying and using an Opal card, and some more information about what to do if you still have old paper tickets.
Gold and Concession Opals
If you are a pensioner or senior, in order to continue to travel for $2.50 as you have done previously, you will need to register for a Gold Opal Card. You can do this online at opal.com.au, over the phone on 13 67 25, or by going to a Service NSW Centre
Concession Opal Card
If you are a tertiary student, apprentice, trainee, job-seeker or eligible Centrelink client, in order to continue to get concessional travel, you will need to register for a Concession Opal Card. You can do this online at opal.com.au, over the phone on 13 67 25, or by going to a Service NSW Centre
Non-registered Opal Cards
It is not necessary to register your Opal card, and you can simply purchase an Opal card at a range of retail outlets. However, it is important to note that you cannot purchase Concession or Gold Opal cards at these locations, and any non-registered Opal card will charge you full adult fares.
Single Use Opal Cards
It will still be possible to purchase a ‘single trip’ Opal card. These cards are intended to assist infrequent or tourist travellers, and those for whom an upfront commitment to a pre-loaded Opal card is not possible. These tickets will be available from most Opal sale and top-up machines at major transport points. However, again it is important to note that these tickets will be full-fare only, and it will not be possible to purchase a single trip concession or pensioner ticket.
Refunds for old tickets
There are a lot of people, and organisations who have a stock of old single and multi-use tickets that are no longer able to be used. Until 30 October 2016 it will be possible to have the cost of your valid paper tickets refunded. There are a number of ways that you can do this, with information available on the Opal website Transport for NSW has also put out an information sheet for organisations who have previously provided travel tickets for the people they support. For more information (insert charity fact sheet here)
The introduction of the new system has raised a number of concerns in the community regarding the accessibility of Opal card sales and top-up services, as well as a number of issues with the restrictions on the sales of Opal Gold and Concession Cards. With the final removal of all paper tickets, it is even more important that these issues are addressed as quickly as possible. NCOSS will continue to work with members to ensure that public transport is accessible for all members of the community, particularly the older, less mobile and financially vulnerable people who rely upon it most.