Sydney's Opal smartcard shifts to buses

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Sydney's Opal smartcard shifts to buses

Trial brought forward.

Transport for NSW will fast-track a trial of the Opal smartcard on a Sydney bus route by three months as it continues to roll electronic ticketing across the metropolitan transit network.

State transport minister Gladys Berejiklian today said route 594, which runs from Hornsby in the city's far north to Town Hall in the CBD, would start using Opal cards from September 30. 

"Tapping off buses will be a new behaviour for people to get used to, but this has been easily adopted by customers in cities like Brisbane and Perth," Berejiklian said.

The system is already in use on all Sydney Ferries services and a subset of the city's train network.

Berejiklian said buses were the "most technically challenging mode" of transport to bring electronic ticketing to.

"[The] system needs to be constantly communicating with more than 5000 buses driving around Sydney and the regions," she said.

There would be benefits for commuters that took up Opal for bus travel, including a fare construct that made it cheaper than buying a ten-trip paper ticket, and a new transfer arrangement that somewhat mirrors Newcastle's time-based system.

Customers needing to change buses will now be able to do so without paying fares on each, as long as the transfer is made within 60 minutes. The Opal card will not include transfers from a bus to a train or ferry.

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