The Opal electronic ticketing card was rolled out on the Blue Mountains train line on Friday with the NSW Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian “tapping off” at Springwood.
Her off peak journey of $5.67 one way from Central was 30 per cent cheaper, she said. Single fares in peak periods save on average about 50 cents.
Already 170,000 people state-wide have registered this year for the card and children were now able to access it, the minister said.
“I think this will help regional tourism ... after eight journeys, you can jump on the train for free so more people can come to the Mountains on the weekend.”
“This latest rollout means train and ferry customers, including those in the Blue Mountains, won’t have to worry about queuing up for a ticket or fumbling for coins ever again,” she said, adding “the previous Labor government spent more than a decade talking about electronic ticketing and failed to deliver anything”.
Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage said benefits of Opal included lower fares, weekly travel rewards, daily caps and discounts for off-peak travel.
“An Opal card is easy to use. Instead of buying a paper ticket you use your Opal card to tap on at an Opal card reader on a station to start your journey, and tap off at the end of your journey.
“The electronic system will automatically calculate your fare and deduct it from the value stored on your card.”
Comment on the Gazette Facebook page to the news was swift with Peter Hoskin saying: “I ordered mine a week ago and it still hasn’t arrived. There are also no retailers in the Blue Mountains for the Opal Card.” Another commuter, Janine Giardina, said she wouldn’t purchase one because “a yearly is far cheaper”.
The cards are available via www.opal.com.au or by calling 13 67 25 (13 OPAL).
Ms Berejiklian said this milestone for public transport had also occurred as the “refresh of the intercity V-Set trains reaches its 75th carriage”.