Opal Discussion and Observations

Sydney / New South Wales Transport Discussion
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swtt
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by swtt »

Stu wrote:Region 6 will become cashless towards the end of next month.
Saw that on a 410 bus the other day. It's effectively cashless already Image

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stupid_girl
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by stupid_girl »

Fleet Lists wrote:That contradicts Transport for NSW which advises that everything is now cashless. https://transportnsw.info/news/2019/con ... k#homepage dated 23rd September
Accepting contactless payment is different from cashless (ie. Prepay only/Opal only).

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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by Jurassic_Joke »

I really wouldn't recommend using contactless on your Apple Watch, which is a shame because the concept (tap on with your wearable watch and not have to get out your physical wallet) is so cool and convenient. It's sadly too buggy and glitchy.

Getting around today Sunday $2.80 on my Apple Watch, and lets see, Opal poles at a train station twice failed to even pick up my card when the card was ready, next try was rejected "please try again", after moving to two different poles it finally worked. Opal gates at train stations, no dramas.

Then the worst bit, on a bus just now at Central, try tapping on, rejected with "Use one card only" (what) and "Please try again" 5 times, both of the front readers just wouldn't budge and of course only when I get errors, its a bus driver that suddenly cares about fare evasion and is giving my filthy looks in the mirror and beckoning me to come to the front. I ignored and tried tapping on at a reader on the rear door - "Tap Success". Phew.

Cool concept - but i'd recommend just sticking to traditional bank cards if you want to use contactless, which in my experience have never been held up at Opal readers.

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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by Fleet Lists »

swtt wrote:
Stu wrote:Region 6 will become cashless towards the end of next month.
Saw that on a 410 bus the other day. It's effectively cashless already Image

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Oops - I had misread that.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by matthewg »

Jurassic_Joke wrote:I really wouldn't recommend using contactless on your Apple Watch, which is a shame because the concept (tap on with your wearable watch and not have to get out your physical wallet) is so cool and convenient. It's sadly too buggy and glitchy.

Cool concept - but i'd recommend just sticking to traditional bank cards if you want to use contactless, which in my experience have never been held up at Opal readers.

Even banking cards are going to be a bit random as there are so many different types. It's a support nightmare.

With the Opal card they only had to cope with one vendor's card - the MiFare Desfire (Opal rechargeable card) and MiFare UltraLite (single trip).

Now the readers need to interact with cards from dozens of vendors with different security levels and then there are all the 'devices' that emulate cards with varying degrees of reliability.

I've been using a Nexus 5x Andriod phone for several weeks - works, most of the time on trains. (I don't ride buses much and my region was last anyway). But I do observe a higher rate of 'try again' errors than I ever saw using my Opal card. But this error rate is probably in line with what I see using my phone for shop payments. Some terminals are picky about the angle the devices is held near the reader.

The 'Wearables' I would imagine will fail even more, as the loop antenna in the devices is compromised by the form factor, the device will have to be a just the right angle to communication happening.

On an actual card, the antenna runs around the inner edge of the card. On a watch-sized device the loop will be physically half the size or even less as the loop antenna has to fit in with the rest of the electronics in the device.
Those 'smartwatches' are marvels of miniaturized electronics, but something has to give to get it all in there.

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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by Fleet Lists »

The Transport PDF Info timetables now including those for buses, now include a fairly lengthy paragraph on contactless payments.
Contactless payments.
If you have an American Express, Mastercard, Visa card or linked device, you can use it to pay for all public transport on the Opal network. Just make sure to tap on and tap off at Opal readers at the beginning and end of your trip. Always separate your cards when you tap on and tap off so your preferred card is charged.You will receive the same travel benefits of an Adult Opal cardwhen you tap on and tap off consistently with the same creditcard, debit card or linked device. This includes daily, weekly and Sunday travel caps, and a $2 transfer discount when you change between metro/train, ferry, bus or light rail services within 60minutes. Adult Opal fare pricing applies.
It takes a lot more lines in the timetable as it is covered by only one column of the timetable. This has causes problems in some timetables with a fairly large number of footnotes which are included in the same column. The PDF creating program then extends the page size but also does this for the subsequent timetable pages which can then not be printed in full on the normal paper size. Busways route 730 is an example of this. https://transportnsw.info/routes/detail ... /730/20730 then click on any timetable to show the problem. Transport for NSW are aware of the problem.

This information is even included in rail replacement timetables so in theory contacltless is now also available on rail replacement buses. However these timetables now also contain:"Some trackwork buses and special event buses may not have Opal card readers. Follow instructions from your driver." to cover the situation where Opal and hence also contactless, is not available. And a s light glitch in the page which links to the timetables still says that Opal is not available.

And back to the page problem. The Parramatta F3 timetable also has this problem even though it has a small number of footnotes, because it i s landscape and not portrait and hence is more susceptible to the problem. And to make it more intriguing is that the current timetable does not have the problem while the new one starting next Friday does have the problem because this one includes 2 Easter footnotes not present in the current one.
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Cash top-up/ticket machines going cashless

Post by Passenger 57 »

I notice the ticket/top-up machine I passed yesterday at Rose Bay Wharf had a sign on it stating that it would no longer accept cash in the future. Given the timing and the suggestion on the notice to use contactless it would seem precipitated by the roll out of contactless across the network but that doesn't really make sense. What would make more sense would be that they are ending cash acceptance on machines that are 'near' retailers with extended hours and possibly other factors, e.g, percentage of card use, costs of cash handling, maritime location. The nearest retailer to this machine is 600-700m away but they cannot be seen from the wharf and their presence would only be known to locals so it is somewhat of a retrograde step and I doubt they will be thoughtful enough to provide a sign with directions to the nearest retailers and their trading hours.

Is this something that is happening across other wharves or the entire network? The tools which search Opal machines and retailers don't seem to indicate which machines are card only.

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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by Fleet Lists »

Maybe an announcement is coming in the next week or so that ferries are going cashless. Sometimes signs are put up beating the gun.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

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https://transportnsw.info/news/2019/mor ... s#homepage
More bus services in Sydney to become cashless
Monday 21 October 2019

From Monday 28 October more bus services across Western Sydney, Inner West and the North Shore will be going cashless.

The services no longer selling tickets on board include Busways services in Blacktown, Schofields, Vineyard and Woodcroft, Transit Systems services across the Inner West and Forest Coaches services in Belrose, Chatswood, Frenchs Forest and West Pymble.

This means that Opal single bus tickets will no longer be sold on board. If you usually buy your ticket from the driver, you’ll now need to get an Opal card or use your contactless credit card, debit card or linked device to travel.

Opal cards are available online or over the counter from Opal retailers including most newsagents, post offices, convenience stores and supermarkets. If you have a contactless-enabled American Express, Mastercard, Visa card or linked device, you can use it to pay your fare at the Opal reader.

Tapping on and off with an Opal card, credit card or linked device is typically at least 20 per cent cheaper than buying an Opal single bus ticket in cash. Changing to cashless services also allows for faster boarding times resulting in fewer delays and more reliable on-time running. Remember to tap on and tap off to ensure you are charged with the correct fare and separate your cards when you tap on and tap off so your preferred card is charged.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by boronia »

swtt wrote:
Stu wrote:Region 6 will become cashless towards the end of next month.
Saw that on a 410 bus the other day. It's effectively cashless already Image

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Isn't 410 a Metrobus service which has always been "pre-pay only"?
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swtt
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by swtt »

boronia wrote:
swtt wrote:Saw that on a 410 bus the other day. It's effectively cashless already Image

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Isn't 410 a Metrobus service which has always been "pre-pay only"?
Not M41. It was introduced as a non prepay service.

In fact only the original M10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 were prepay only. All others took cash.

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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by boxythingy »

Ah daylight savings and out come the Transportius Officerius again.

For some reason this fellow passenger's phone was quite hard to read with the authorised device to determine tap on/off. Eventually a tap on was determined, but one of these still made the remark upon moving onto the next carriage, "You would have been fined if a tap on could not be determined" :roll: :twisted:

Can anyone please explain how this is consistent with the Mandatory Conduct of all NSW Government Sector Employees which states:
You should treat all people with whom you have contact in the course of your work:

Equally without prejudice or favour
With honesty, consistency and impartiality.
It is also ridiculous how they are (re)introducing inconsistencies to top up amounts again!
https://transportnsw.info/news/2019/opa ... HN797XwkeI

This will confuse the sheep, and result in more fines for people who may only be able to afford to top up the current minimum $10 by using the Opal Card app, only to realise they have to wait a whole bloody 60min for it to come into effect! My suspicions have been confirmed, the waste of time 'other amounts' button in the newly rejigged top up machines will eventually be removed!
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by mandonov »

https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/news-a ... l-parkride
Real-time parking availability for Opal Park&Ride

Published 17 Nov 2019

Transport for NSW is launching a new trial that allows customers to see how many spaces are available at four Opal Park&Ride car parks before they decide to drive there.

A TfNSW spokesperson said the innovative solution will enable public transport customers to plan their journey more efficiently before leaving home and further improve customer experience at commuter car parks.

“Customers can access real-time car park occupancy data via an app before they jump in the car and decide whether to make alternative arrangements like walking, cycling or catching public transport,” the TfNSW spokesperson said.

“Opal Park&Ride is about ensuring car parks are saved for their intended purpose – for those travelling on public transport and we hope this new trial will make customers more informed about their transport options.”

Transport for NSW has installed smart parking systems at Opal Park&Ride car parks at Seven Hills, Kogarah, Ashfield and Manly Vale, enabling car park occupancy data to be collected and released on the Open Data Hub. The information is now available to a select group of endorsed third party app developers.

“AnyTrip is the first third party app developer to support this trial. The real-time car park feature will provide customers with an approximate number of parking spaces available at each location along with predictive occupancy patterns based on historical data.”

Opal Park&Ride protects parking spaces for genuine public transport customers by giving them up to 18 hours free parking each day when they tap on and off with their Opal card. Those who don’t qualify for free parking will be charged $30 on weekdays and $10 on weekends.

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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by boronia »

No doubt the 20 spaces that are "available" at the time you leave home will be taken by the time you get there.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by mandonov »

That's where the predicitive element based on past trends would come in handy, similar to say the NextThere app which gives you an estimate for the rest of your route for how late or early the bus will become based on current traffic conditions, or how it estimates where the bus load factor will begin to drop off or rise along the route based on Opal data.

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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

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I don't know how predictive Trip View really is, but when I wait for my bus in Eddy Ave of an afternoon, it often starts off telling the next bus is due in. say, 2 mins and is 2 mins late. Four minutes later, it is still due in 2 mins but is 6 minutes late. Quite obvious it cannot track the bus until it actually starts the trip, and cannot take into account how late is running on the previous trip. Even though the trip has not started, it can tell me the bus is already half full.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by Campbelltown busboy »

Have operators been removing the original white opal bus stickers that were applied to buses when the opal card system was first rolled out on the bus network
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by J_Busworth »

Campbelltown busboy wrote:Have operators been removing the original white opal bus stickers that were applied to buses when the opal card system was first rolled out on the bus network
On both STA and TSA buses, they were removed when they went contactless and were reloaded by new stickers denoting such
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by Fleet Lists »

Have I missed something?????

https://transportnsw.info/routes/detail ... s/31/76031 which links to the Brisbane XPT timetable now states Opal is available for this service - and same for all other regional trains and coaches.
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boronia
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by boronia »

How would that work when you have to pre-book seats on the service?
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by moa999 »

Think it's just bad programming on the website. The PDF timetable is still very clear you have to pre-book for all regional and bus services.

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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by Fleet Lists »

I agree - I was being facetious.
The only exception is https://transportnsw.info/regional/nsw- ... ach-trials the Goulburn to Sydney coach trial on which Opal can be used. But even then in the pdf timetables shows that bookings are required and also the link page https://transportnsw.info/routes/detail ... /777/76777 showed that until I pointed that out to them. So they fixed it, mucking up the other routes in the process.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by moa999 »

Interesting.
The Coach appears to be tagged as a train in the Opal System, replicating SHL line fares.
As TfNSW.info reports $8.86 for the fare to Campbeltown, or the same connecting on train to Central.

Much cheaper than the pre-booked NSW Trainlink services.

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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by BroadGauge »

Logically that particular coach route should be classed as an intercity service and listed in the SHL timetable, like all other rail and coach services commencing from Goulburn toward Sydney are.

I can think of a couple of other exceptions from the general rule - one being the Moss Vale to Wollongong coach, for which this slightly contradictory information comes up in the journey planner:
Moss Vale to Wollongong
Booking required
Book your seat with NSW TrainLink

Opal can be used between Wollongong and Moss Vale, Exeter and Bundanoon stations.
If travelling by Coach between Wollongong station and Moss Vale, Exeter or Bundanoon stations you can use your Opal card or contactless card or device to tap on or off at your origin/destination station provided the origin/destination is an Opal enabled station.

If travelling onto Goulburn, or other Opal enabled station along the Southern Highlands Line, you should not tap off when transferring from Coach to an Intercity train but instead tap off at your destination station.

Booking is not required for Opal customers on this route.
The other one used to be that in the days of paper tickets, the portion of the coach service between Lithgow and Bathurst was classed as an intercity service for fares (and even shown in the BMT timetable!) but you had to call up to reserve a seat.

I'm not sure if that stopped at the same time as the Bathurst Bullet was introduced as looking at the journey planner it states that regional fares apply for this service.

Just like for Goulburn, there can be a huge price differential between services to Bathurst depending on what time you want to go there! Next Sunday I could go from Central to Bathurst for $40.46 ( :shock: ) at 7:19am on the XPT, $10.80 at 12:24pm on the V set + Coach, or $2.80 on the Bathurst Bullet just after 3pm.

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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Post by neilrex »

"Sydney commuters will soon be able to add their Opal card to their smart phone digital wallet.
The New South Wales state government will trial a digital card in 2020, though it won’t yet cater for concession travellers.
The digital card will allow commuters to pay for all modes of public transport, as well as taxis and Ubers. "

From Sky News.

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