Opal fare evasion cost you $83,000,000 last year

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Since the implementation of the Opal Card in late 2012, we’ve gathered key insights into the journeys people make and allowed us to adjust services to meet demand in congested areas.

Unfortunately, there are a number of customers who choose to evade paying for their public transport use. This cost NSW taxpayers $83,000,000.00 in lost revenue in 2017.

Foregoing such a large amount of money negatively impacts everyone who uses public transport. It’s revenue that would have been reinvested back into the network to help upgrade stations, improve infrastructure and add more services.

Last year, we launched a pilot campaign to help reduce fare evasion on the Inner West Light Rail. In a six month period, we’ve seen the non-compliance rate improve from 9.5% to 7.5%. That means more funds to help continually improve the service.

Today we want to help customers do the right thing of tapping on and off with a valid Opal card, every time they travel across the network.


How we’re making a difference:

  • Adding better signage to help highlight Opal Reader machines and prompt individuals to tap on and off.
  • Increasing the visibility of Transport Officers on services and at stations / stops / wharves.
  • Highlighting the $200 (up to $550) fine customers will receive if they travel without a valid ticket.
  • Rolling out advertising at stations and on our buses and trains to call out customers who are deliberately cheating the system.

How you can help

  • Be considerate and courteous of other customers.
  • Make sure you have enough funds to travel at all times.
  • Tap on and tap off each trip.
  • Offer courtesy seats to those who need it more than you.
  • Reserve the wide access gate for people who need it more.

How to top-up your Opal card

It’s a good idea to top up your Opal card before you travel, this way you’ll avoid any potential delays to your journey.

One of the easiest ways is to enable online auto top up – this means you will always have funds on your card. You can also go online for a one-off top up.

The official Opal app allows you to plan your journey, check your balance and top up on the go. Its available for both Android or iPhone right here. 

It’s important to remember that online top up can take 15 minutes to go through for train, light rail and ferry services, and up to 60 minutes for bus. This is because upon topping up, the data needs to be sent to every single Opal Reader machine.

There are also top-up machines available at most stations or you can call 136 725 to add funds to your Opal card over the phone.

If you need a new Opal card or simply want to put funds on an existing one, just visit your nearest Opal retailer.

The Adult Opal minimum balance to tap on for trains is $3.46 peak and $2.42 off-peak; for Sydney Ferries $5.88; and for buses and light rail it’s $2.15.Remember, if your Opal card has the minimum balance but the cost of your journey exceeds this, you are still able to complete your journey. The next time you top up, that difference will be automatically debited from your account.

If your Opal card does not have the minimum balance, you will not be able to successfully tap on, please top up before you travel.


Please do the right thing

If you are caught travelling without a valid ticket (i.e. not tapped on successfully with your Opal card or did not purchase a single trip ticket), not paying the correct fare or travelling using a concession ticket without your proof of entitlement card, you may be issued with a fine of $200 (with a maximum of $550).

You can find out more information on the types of travel offences which will incur fines and penalties here.


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