NSW Government Is Cracking Down on Opal Card's Cheap Fare Loopholes
Opal miners, the jig is up.
If you've been one of those savvy, savvy Opal users, who's been rollerblading between light rail stops, to 'Opal mine' and rack up your weekly cap on the cheap, we're afraid your halcyon days are over.
Up until today, Opal (albeit pretty much accidentally) enabled one of the sweetest public transport deals on the planet. Once you'd used your Opal card to take eight paid trips — of any distance and cost, but at least an hour between each 'trip' — you'd then enjoy free travel for the rest of the week. One of the most common methods for taking advantage of this was spending a couple of hours on a Monday, tapping on and off between Pyrmont Bay and The Star light rail stops. They're only 200 metres apart and a one-way journey between the two sets you back only $2.10 (or $1.05 for students). So, for 15 bucks, you could ride trains, buses and ferries to your heart's content until the following Monday.
Back in September 2014, then transport minister Gladys Berejiklian acknowledged — and encouraged — such cheeky behaviours. "I want people to beat the system," she told SMH. "I want people to find the savings because they are there to be had."
But the NSW Government has now changed its tune. On Monday, March 21, current transport minister Andrew Constance announced that the meaning of a 'journey' or 'trip' on Opal has been redefined — and can now include up to seven transfers. So, where the aforementioned Pyrmont Bay-The Star stunt could be achieved in two hours, it'll now take as many as five. So, theoretically, you could still make it happen, but not without some serious dedication — and plenty of hours to spare.
Published on March 21, 2016 by Jasmine Crittenden