Just as Transport NSW promised last year, the Opal card project is moving along at a rapid clip. As of today, Opal card readers have been installed in 120 train stations around the Sydney metropolitan network; the most recent rollout means the tap-on, tap-off system now extends from Casula in the south, to Wyong in the north, to Richmond and Emu Plains out west.
Over half of Sydney's commuting public are now able to use the service, which abandons paper tickets in favour of a contactless smartcard in the same vein as Melbourne's Myki and the London Oyster card. Trials for the Opal card only began in the middle of last year, after extensive delays, so it's nice to see the service actually getting some consistent attention from the state Government. The entire city ferry network is hooked up, too, although buses are lagging far behind — only two routes are currently trialling the card.
A contactless card system makes a lot of sense for such a busy public transport system. What doesn't make sense, though, is the extra cost some commuters are still slugged with. At the moment using an Opal card when you travel by switching between different transport methods — like a ferry and a train — will mean a significant price jump over a MyMulti, while if you forget to tap off at your destination during a peak time journey the default fare is a painful $8.10. [Transport NSW]