No Opal card? Commuters to face lengthy queues

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian is warning train travellers they could face lengthy queues at ticket windows next Monday if they do not have an Opal card.

Weekly MyTrain tickets, as well as cheaper adult off-peak return tickets, are two of the 14 ticket types that will no longer be sold from Monday, as the government attempts to encourage travellers into using the electronic smart-card.

Ms Berejiklian said there had recently been a sharp increase in the number of people signing up for the Opal card – 55,000 in one week recently taking the total sign-up to more than 580,000 – but commuters could still find themselves stuck in a line on Monday.

"The key thing for me is just to make sure that people are aware they could be facing long queues on 1 September if they don't have the Opal card," Ms Berejiklian said.

"There will be a lot of ticket sellers having to explain to people what their options are if they are caught out," she said.

"If you are used to buying a weekly and you can't buy one anymore, you will have to say to the person "what do I do now" and so it will take a bit longer to explain all your options."

The government is already selling vastly fewer paper tickets than it did a few months ago. In 2013, commuters bought about 100,000 weekly MyTrain tickets in a regular week. Last month that number had halved, and in the week ending August 17, 38,000 weekly train tickets were sold.

Some commuters have been concerned they are, or would be, paying more when using the Opal card.

Ferry or bus users comparing fares to individual trips on TravelTen tickets may pay more – particularly if they do not travel more than eight times a week – as well as people who had purchased quarterly or yearly tickets.

But Ms Berejiklian has said the government risked collecting less fare revenue overall under the Opal card, and said that most people who had started to use the card were pleased with what it cost them.

"The concern is among those who have not switched over yet and have made assumptions about what it will cost them," she said. "So I say to people, give it a go.

"Even if you think you might be paying more you will be pleasantly surprised."

Commuters may be confused if they have acquired an Opal card but not used it for 60 days. In this case, the money they would have loaded into their card would have been refunded, meaning they would need to load money onto their card again.

Pensioners will continue to be able to buy Pensioner Excursion tickets, while bus tickets such as TravelTens are still likely to be sold for at least another year.

Anyone buying a yearly or quarterly train or MyMulti ticket in the next week will continue to be able to use it until it expires.

Tickets not sold after this week:

My Train: 

Adult Off-Peak Return
Adult Weekly (7 day)
Adult Fortnightly (14 day)
Adult Monthly (28 day)
Adult Quarterly (90 day)
Adult Yearly (365 day)
Concessions Monthly (28 day)
Concessions Quarterly (90 day)
Concessions Yearly (365 day)

My Multi: 

Adult Monthly (28 day)
Adult Quarterly (90 day)
Adult Yearly (365 day)

My Ferry: 

Adult TravelTen

Light rail: 

Adult Yearly (365 day)

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