Early start for Opal card on South Coast line

EXCLUSIVE

South Coast rail commuters will be able to tap on and off with the Opal card from April 4.

The installation and testing of card readers on train platforms on the South Coast line began in February. 

But next month the readers will be activated and ready for use well ahead of schedule.

Previously, the government had promised to activate Opal on the South Coast line by the end of the year.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said he was pleased the card readers were about to be switched on.

‘‘Opal is a game changer for public transport customers and I am very pleased to announce the NSW government has fast-tracked Opal for South Coast customers,’’ Mr O’Farrell said.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the roll-out included all stations on the South Coast line to Port Kembla and Bomaderry.

‘‘This is a significant milestone for customers, with Opal extending all the way south to Bomaderry,’’ she said.

The Opal card is a smartcard that can be loaded with credit for travel on public buses, trains and ferries statewide.

Trips on an Opal card tend to be cheaper, in part because, while the government raised paper ticket prices in January, Opal prices were unchanged.

A single adult fare between Wollongong and Town Hall will cost $8.10 with an Opal card instead of $8.60 and an Opal Weekly Travel Reward costs $60 compared with the current $61 weekly on peak train ticket, but also allows free travel on trains, buses and ferries after eight paid journeys in a week.

Several discounts apply to Opal, including free travel after racking up eight journeys in a week.

Despite the introduction of the cards, paper tickets will still be available on the South Coast line.

It is expected the cards will be available on  the entire Illawarra bus network  by the end of the year.  

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