Press Release

For immediate release

Information verified correct on October 22nd, 2016

Loyal commuters to be worse off under proposed Opal card shake up

  • analysis: 68% of commuters to pay more under proposed changes to Opal card fees
  • Those who travel more than 10 journeys per week to be slugged an extra $254.80 per year
  • Switching between different modes of public transport the best way to enjoy biggest savings's latest research has uncovered the cost of proposed changes to NSW’s public transport ticketing – which could see many commuters slugged hundred of dollars more per year

January 12, 2016, Sydney, Australia

The weekly fare comparison calculator was recently created to help Opal card users work out how much proposed fare changes – due to come into effect mid-year – would cost them. More than 12,000 of these weekly journeys were analysed to reveal the potential cost savings.

After crunching the numbers’s research shows 68 percent of Sydney commuters would actually pay more for their weekly commute, contrary to recent reports suggesting prices may decrease following the fee overhaul.

Furthermore, those who commute frequently using the Opal card (more than 10 journeys per week) would have to pay on average $4.90 more weekly than their current weekly travel expenditure if the proposals by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) are adopted. Over a year that’s a $254.80 price increase.

Occasional public transport users would be rewarded by the overhaul. Those who travel 10 or less journeys per week could save $3.49 on average.

Those who commute frequently using the Opal card would have to pay on average $4.90 more weekly...Over a year that’s a $254.80 price increase.

But Bessie Hassan, Consumer Advocate at, warns the changes to how fares are calculated could deter people away from public transport.

“The proposed fare changes are a disincentive – it simply doesn’t make sense to reward those commuters who contribute the least to revenue while punishing avid public transport users,” she says.

“This fare imbalance is caused by a proposed change in weekly fare rewards. Phasing out the Weekly Travel Reward (where commuters only have to pay for the first eight paid journeys each week) and replacing it with a Weekly Travel Credit where the 10 most expensive journeys are to be paid puts a significant burden on those who contribute the most to the revenue.

“While it may assist with preventing so-called ‘Opal hacks’, ultimately those who use the service most will be out of pocket.”

Average weekly savings or fare increased based on number of journeys per week

Journeys per weekAverage weekly savings under proposed fares
< 5$3.08 (saving)
5 - 9$5.54 (saving)
10 - 14-$1.04 (increase)
15 - 19-$5.55 (increase)
20 +-$11.19 (increase)

Source: analysis of Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal report, December 2015.

Commuters who travel on multiple modes of public transport could save money, under the new proposal.

On average, commuters who have to switch between two modes of transport to complete their journey could save around $9.24 per week and commuters who switch between three modes of transport or more will save on average $11.66 per week.

Average weekly savings based on number of travel modes

Number of modes traversedAverage weekly savings under proposed fares
1-$1.69 (increase)
2$9.24 (saving)
3$11.66 (saving)

Source: analysis of Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal report, December 2015.

Public transport ticket systems are hotly debated across the country, says Ms Hassan.

“Melbourne’s Myki has been plagued with problems with calls to replace it with Sydney’s Opal, and Brisbane’s Go Card has been criticised for having the most expensive fares and most outdated technology. In reality, it would be more efficient to have the same ticketing system used throughout Australia.”

However it will be years before major changes can be implemented in Australia with the Queensland Go Card system not being overhauled until 2019 at the earliest and Myki in 2017.

In the meantime, commuters could end up looking to other forms of transport should the proposed Opal card fare changes go ahead.

“If you’re going to sting those who use your service most – which could happen under this proposal – it wouldn’t be surprising to see an increase in people driving, walking or cycling to work.”


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