Opal Card Roll-out

 
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
It is very unfortunate that IPART lead fare setting in Sydney.  They are a bunch of obstructionist kingdom builders that have prevented fare integration for more than a decade, and they continue to do so.  If the Premier would do the right thing, he'd remove their authority completely.

They have made a number of direct statements about preventing transferring passengers from getting a discount.
simonl
Direct statements such as (emphasis mine)...

"However, we are sympathetic to the view that many passengers who change buses within a single journey effectively pay 2 flagfalls."

"The introduction of electronic ticketing will make it significantly simpler to implement a flagfall rebate for passengers who need to change buses to complete their journey. We consider that this is the most appropriate way to make such a change, and that the Government should consider this issue further in relation to the proposed e-ticket."

"Although we believe it is appropriate to retain different fares for buses, trains and ferries because of the different costs and environmental benefits involved, we consider it appropriate to include a flagfall rebate in the e-ticket regime so that passengers who are not able to make their journey on a single bus are not required to pay multiple flagfalls. The economic case for a flagfall rebate on multi-modal travel is not clear, we consider it likely to be justified on equity grounds."

The above from the 2010 review of bus fares.  I cannot reconcile the views implicit in phrases emphasised above with your last statement.  If you have statements to the contrary I would be interested in seeing them.

IPART's current view, in my understanding and noting my previous comment about the difficulty of determining "intent", is that there is a difference in cost per passenger kilometre travelled and perhaps quality between modes, and that it is may be appropriate to signal that cost and quality difference to users (if the bus is cheaper than the train for a certain trip - then people should use the bus).  But they acknowledge that there is room for debate about this, because in many cases users do not get to choose the mode that the system provides.  

(I suspect it is the relatively extreme cost of ferry services that is the real driver here, rather than bus versus train, but I could be wrong.)

IPART's view in this area was certainly the view of the previous government - who explicitly asked for mode specific charging as part of the Opal tender.

With less commitment, IPART have a view that the route length of journey is a better reflection of the costs of providing services, rather than crow flies.  But similarly there is room for debate about this, because users don't get to choose where the bus goes or where the train line runs.

As stated above, they definitely don't believe that users should be penalised for changes within a mode.

They are also inclined towards the view that users shouldn't be penalised for changes between modes based on "equity" (again, because the user in most cases doesn't get to choose the mix of modes for a particular journey), but they haven't come up with an economic (i.e. cost) argument as of the time of writing the above (2010).

I don't necessarily agree with (my interpretation of) their views above (my sympathy lies more towards the "because" phrases above, but then I accept that while a user might not control the arrangement for a particular journey, over a longer time period they do have some control over where they live relative to where they regularly travel and where existing transport has been provided), but I can understand their reasons for their views.  And none of their views are obstacles to integrated ticketing.  On the contrary, in the last couple of determinations they have clearly allowed flexibility to do just that.

It is pretty clear that IPART are not keen on zone based fares, because of the distortions that it introduces in a geographically spread system like that of greater Sydney.  I think at times that opposition to zones has been taken to mean opposition to fare integration, but with technology available in this day and age they are not the same concepts.  Examples exist to support that, including systems which moved away from zones towards distance charging with the introduction of "integrated" electronic ticketing

And to be clear... the decision anyway is ultimately one for the government of the day.  They have the authority and the accountability to set both the policy and the detail around fares.

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  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
The most important thing to do first is sort out intra-mode interchanging, namely ferry-ferry and bus-bus; then, quickly, move on to integrating all modes together.
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
Good discussion.  I acknowledge the points you make, DTMW.  I would counter with the following:
1) They didn't actually include that in their maximum fare determination.  Why not?
2) Item for feedback number 11 in the Cityrail issues paper for fares from January 2013 was "How should the MyMulti tickets be priced to ensure users of these ticket types are not receiving a disproportionate discount compared to passengers using single and periodical tickets while still allowing and encouraging multi-modal travel?"
3) Chapter 13 of the the draft determination for Cityrail for 2009-2012 has a long bagging of the "discount" multimodal users got from the Travelpass system which applied at the time
4) I'm not aware they ever argued against removing the Bus/Ferry travelpasses, which were just a bad practice.
5) They haven't argued for the removal of the Weekly (and longer) MyTrain5 periodicals, which add negative value to the system.  These people should be using MyMulti3.
6) While I can see their point to some degree, even if I think other factors outweigh it, I cannot see the argument against what I call "patchwork zonal" as applies in Zurich and some other places.
7) While they bag out the cost recovery of ferries, the main reason these are so badly subsidised is that they are so underutilised.  Bus feeders at both ends can help here.

Is that enough?
  Alfred3333 Locomotive Fireman

That's just the official line off the Opal web site. Q1 2014 is also given for the main west roll out too. They are probably deliberately vague. If they can get it on-line before the end of March, they have made the target.
Any one been to any Inner West or 'short north' stations ? - they are supposed to come on at the same time.

I regularly use Redfern and some time in the last week the software in the gatelines was updated as they are now showing the expiry date of periodical tickets, but no sign of Opal reader pads yet.

I wonder if there is only one install team and they are currently working north, then they will come back and work down the short north and in towards the city ?
"matthewg"


I've travelled through the inner west stops and most have opal readers that are ready to be in use (that is between Redfern and Homebush). I'm not sure whether the stations beyond Homebush that used to be part of the Inner West prior to the October Timetabling will be rolled out at the same time...but I'm sure it would as the opal rollout map suggests.
  MysticRose Beginner

Summer Hill recently got the readers installed in the walkway underneath the station, however they say "Opal Reader In Testing: Do Not Use"
  matthewg Train Controller

Summer Hill recently got the readers installed in the walkway underneath the station, however they say "Opal Reader In Testing: Do Not Use"
MysticRose


Newtown got done on Monday or Tuesday. On Friday there were no reader pads, today (Wednesday) there are.

While they have stickers on them saying 'do not use', the gate displays have turned white (Opal Active) and if you present an Opal card, the gates open.

Redfern isn't yet done, and a colleague says Pennant Hills hasn't been fitted either, so there are still gaps preventing 'extension 2' from coming online.
  maestro Junior Train Controller

Starting on the 31st Jan, Opal will be available on the entire T1 line out to Wyong...

City Circle stations: Central, Town Hall, Wynyard, Circular Quay, St James and Museum
T4 Eastern Suburbs Line stations: Bondi Junction to Martin Place
T1 North Shore Line stations: Berowra to City via Gordon***
T1 Northern Line stations: Hornsby to City via Macquarie University and Epping to City via Strathfield***
T2 Inner West & South Line stations: Strathfield to City***
Central Coast & Newcastle Line stations: Wyong to Central***

*** - starting from 31 Jan.
  maestro Junior Train Controller

From http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/light-rail-project-proposal-to-use-parks-as-construction-compounds-on-route-20140209-329v7.html


On Sunday Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said that from Friday the Opal card would be extended to 22 railway stations from Homebush to Casula via Granville, as well as along the Carlingford line and to Olympic Park.

From February 28 the system will operate from Harris Park to Emu Plains and to Richmond via Schofields. Ms Berejiklian said this meant the Opal card would be available on 120 railway stations by the end of the month.

She said about 60,000 customers had registered to use the card - an increase of about 10,000 in the last week alone. She said on some days more than 2500 people were signing up.

''I anticipate that when it's rolled out to the entire network and when buses come on line as well, there will be huge amounts of take-up,'' she said.

The government plan is to have the Opal card available across ferries, trains and buses by the end of the year and on light rail next year.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

From http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/light-rail-project-proposal-to-use-parks-as-construction-compounds-on-route-20140209-329v7.html
maestro

The word is that the roll out is going so well that both Sydney and NSW Trains will be fully operational much sooner than anticipated.
  maestro Junior Train Controller

The word is that the roll out is going so well that both Sydney and NSW Trains will be fully operational much sooner than anticipated.
nswtrains

That doesn't surprise me, I got the same feeling when I saw that article, they seem to be way ahead!

I noticed the other day that they now have OPAL poles installed at Lysaghts station (employee-only station on the Port Kembla line)
  gmanning1 Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney
Is there any info on the roll out in regards to NightRide buses. At present when I buy a return ticket, if I miss the last train I can show my ticket on the bus and it is valid.

Now each time I use my Opal card, I have to also buy another ticket for the bus, which of course costs extra.

I suppose it would be delayed until after the whole train nework is finished, but does anyone have any idea how this will work, and when it is likely to be implemented?

The Opal site only mentions it in the FAQ section:


Can I use the Opal card on a NightRide bus service?

NightRide bus services operate after the last train service at night.  At the moment you can’t use your Opal card on NightRide bus services.  You will need to purchase a single ticket from the driver, or use one of several paper tickets.
For information about the paper tickets accepted on NightRide services, please visit transportnsw.info



and from TransportNSW info:


You can purchase a single NightRide ticket from the bus driver, or use your valid MyTrain (excluding single tickets), MyMulti, Family Funday Sunday, or Pensioner Excursion ticket for travel to your destination.
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
As much as I hate it (since I would be likely to use it, if it was available), I would posit that, if you held a return paper ticket, you would be able to use NightRide at no extra cost, since you had a ticket to return.

Since Opal will charge you for individual journeys, taking into account travel already undertaken, you would not be considered to hold a ticket to return (i.e. if you were to tag on, it would be a new trip, depending on your already existing trips).

I think that this is a flaw of the Nightride system, rahter than a flaw of Opal.

Nightride should be an integral part of the public transport system, and should use the same ticketing and fare system, rather than being an add-on system.

Dave
  viaprojects Train Controller


Nightride should be an integral part of the public transport system, and should use the same ticketing and fare system, rather than being an add-on system.

thadocta

lol - the nightride system cover's the full rail network - how do you enable the opal system on nightride when sections of the rail system do not have opal turned on.
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
lol - the nightride system cover's the full rail network - how do you enable the opal system on nightride when sections of the rail system do not have opal turned on.
viaprojects

And that is one of the flaws. Someone who has reached the daily travel reward - $15 - or the weekly reward - eight journeys - and is therefore entitled to free travel in the Opal enabled area, is being denied this and made to pay a fare which they should not have to pay.

Maybe as an incentive to get people onto Opal, Nightride should be free to anyone with an Opal card, whether or not they are travelling to an Opal enabled area?

Dave
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
And that is one of the flaws. Someone who has reached the daily travel reward - $15 - or the weekly reward - eight journeys - and is therefore entitled to free travel in the Opal enabled area, is being denied this and made to pay a fare which they should not have to pay.

Maybe as an incentive to get people onto Opal, Nightride should be free to anyone with an Opal card, whether or not they are travelling to an Opal enabled area?

Dave
thadocta

It is the roll out period.  There would be tens to hundreds of thousands of people who are disadvantaged (realistically, ever so slightly) because the roll out is incomplete.  Practically anyone who catches a train and any public transport bus (bar the 333 or whatever).

The situation won't last forever.  Is there really a need to special case night rider buses?
  Alfred3333 Locomotive Fireman

Note: the last lines/sections of the metropolitan sydney trains network are expected to be the Illawara and or the Bankstown Line/s
  viaprojects Train Controller

And that is one of the flaws. Someone who has reached the daily travel reward - $15 - or the weekly reward - eight journeys - and is therefore entitled to free travel in the Opal enabled area, is being denied this and made to pay a fare which they should not have to pay.

thadocta

your logic is flawed - there are no Opal enabled areas. only a few transport routes have been turned on.
  jcouch Assistant Commissioner

Location: Asleep on a commuter train
Readers appeared at Campbelltown station today.
  wurx Lithgovian Ambassador-at-Large

Location: The mystical lost principality of Daptovia
I met the wurxette @ Sutherland today. She told me the turnstiles have gone, replaced by Opal readers.
  clrks Locomotive Fireman

The free trips after 8 paid trips in a week is a pretty flawed system and I'm amazed it got off the drawing board. Unless I am mistaken in my interpretation, with this system, a person can reduce their weekly cost of travel by making unnecessary and useless trips on a cheaper mode of transport.

For example, a person who travels to work five days a week from Richmond to Central pays $6.30 one way and $50.40 over the week ( $6.30 X 8 ). However, the minimum fare for buses is $2.10.

Let's say during the lunch break, this person goes downstairs and catches a bus a whopping one stop and pays $2.10. Effectively one of the 8 trips he must pay during the week is substituted by a $2.10 trip.

On the assumption he does this every day, he is paying in total for the entire week's travel: Monday - $6.30, $2.10, $6.30; Tuesday - $6.30, $2.10, $6.30; Wednesday - $6.30, $2.10. This is a total of $37.80, saving him over $12 per week, a not insignificant amount.

Taking this scheme to a more extreme situation, assume that not only does this person catch a bus during the lunch break, but also during a coffee break in the morning or the afternoon.

On this assumption of two bus trips per day, he is paying in total for the entire week's travel: Monday - $6.30, $2.10, $2.10, $6.30; Tuesday - $6.30, $2.10, $2.10, $6.30. Total $33.60.

Basically the more bus trips he takes as soon as the week starts (and therefore the less train trips), the less he will pay overall for the entire week's travel.

Am I missing something here as this is my reading of how the fare structure works. The savings are greater the bigger the disparity between the minimum cost of an Opal fare and the actual normal fare you pay. Catching a bus one stop during a lunch break is not a difficult task to do and it is not like there is any rule for minimum number of bus stops travelled.
  gmanning1 Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney
Let's say during the lunch break, this person goes downstairs and catches a bus a whopping one stop and pays $2.10. Effectively one of the 8 trips he must pay during the week is substituted by a $2.10 trip.

On the assumption he does this every day, he is paying in total for the entire week's travel: Monday - $6.30, $2.10, $6.30; Tuesday - $6.30, $2.10, $6.30; Wednesday - $6.30, $2.10. This is a total of $37.80, saving him over $12 per week, a not insignificant amount.

Taking this scheme to a more extreme situation, assume that not only does this person catch a bus during the lunch break, but also during a coffee break in the morning or the afternoon.

On this assumption of two bus trips per day, he is paying in total for the entire week's travel: Monday - $6.30, $2.10, $2.10, $6.30; Tuesday - $6.30, $2.10, $2.10, $6.30. Total $33.60.
clrks

Not quiite, because in the first case the fares add to $14.70 ($6.30+$2.10+$6.30) so yes it would be three trips.

However in the second case the fares will go over the $15 Daily Cap, so the fourth fare will be capped to $4.50 but this does not count toward the 8 weekly trips.

I've not got to the 8 weekly trip scenario yet, but my understanding is that once you reach the daily cap, the rest of the trips, including the capped one do not count toward the 8 weekly trip limit.