Opal Card Roll-out

 
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
From tomorrow (Friday 06DEC13) Opal will be available on the 333 bus from North Bondi to Circular Quay, this being the second bus route where it will be available (the first being the 594/594H between Hornsby, North Turramurra and Town Hall).

Wondering why it is only one route on this busy corridor, surely it would have been better to make it something like "all routes between Bondi Junction and the City" - if I am at Bondi Junction travelling to Taylor Square, I have the option of the 333, 378, 380 (any others? Not sure) if using cash, MyMulti or TravelTen, but only the 333 if using Opal. Good to see that the roll-out is continuing though.

And in other news, the Opal reader has received a third award - details at this page.

Dave

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  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I've used it on the 333.

Quite nice, actually.
  gmanning1 Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney
From tomorrow (Friday 06DEC13) Opal will be available on the 333 bus from North Bondi to Circular Quay, this being the second bus route where it will be available (the first being the 594/594H between Hornsby, North Turramurra and Town Hall).

Wondering why it is only one route on this busy corridor, surely it would have been better to make it something like "all routes between Bondi Junction and the City" - if I am at Bondi Junction travelling to Taylor Square, I have the option of the 333, 378, 380 (any others? Not sure) if using cash, MyMulti or TravelTen, but only the 333 if using Opal. Good to see that the roll-out is continuing though.

And in other news, the Opal reader has received a third award - details at this page.

Dave
thadocta
Might be something to do with testing bus sectors & bus/train sectors or the special City to Bondi ticket:

http://www.transportnsw.info/en/tickets/bondi-beach.page?

You can get the 333 from the city to Bondi Beach or, catch a train from city to Bondi Junction then 333 to Bondi Beach.
  matthewg Train Controller

Might be something to do with testing bus sectors & bus/train sectors or the special City to Bondi ticket:

http://www.transportnsw.info/en/tickets/bondi-beach.page?

You can get the 333 from the city to Bondi Beach or, catch a train from city to Bondi Junction then 333 to Bondi Beach.
gmanning1

Since so far they have said Opal will be a 100% 'Pay as you go' system, and that there will be no periodicals, only a 'weekly reward' system, so the fact that a 'link' ticket exists currently is probably irrelevant, as such tickets will disappear under Opal.
(Lets see if the Government 'cracks' over the furore over some people apparently paying more under Opal.)

It would appear the 333 was picked simply as it has a dedicated fleet which limited the number of vehicles they had to fit out.

Fare wise there is nothing to test, as they appear to have made it clear they are not going to remove the 'mode change penalty' from Sydney's ticketing system. So there is nothing special Opal has to do for Bondi Junction interchange passengers. Change modes, it's a new journey and a new 'flag-fall'. The 1 hour interchange time for joining journeys into trips for 'weekly reward' counting has already been tested.

So this part of the test is simply to test the bus to base comms. And given reports if the Opal web site showing bus journeys relatively quickly, it looks like the tag data is being sent back to base in near real time by radio (mobile phone ?).  I hope they are using the same data radio used by the real time bus tracker and that the buses are not carrying TWO mobile phone modems!

The data links are really going to get tested in places like the Bondi Junction interchange - the mobile phone data traffic will be really intense in that area, with not only every bus wanting to send data, half or more of their passengers will be on facebook via their mobiles Smile
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I believe the fare calculations are controlled by GPS devices on the bus itself.

The 333 is generally run with a dedicated fleet, namely the blue Volvo B12BLEA Volgren fleet out of Waverley Depot, but some services are run using their rigid and red buses. I'll find out soon enough what happens then.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Fare wise there is nothing to test, as they appear to have made it clear they are not going to remove the 'mode change penalty' from Sydney's ticketing system. So there is nothing special Opal has to do for Bondi Junction interchange passengers. Change modes, it's a new journey and a new 'flag-fall'. The 1 hour interchange time for joining journeys into trips for 'weekly reward' counting has already been tested.
matthewg

opal.com.au says... "If you transfer between a bus, train, or ferry service, your Opal fare will be calculated separately for your train trip and your ferry trip. If your transfer is completed within 60 minutes, this is considered to be one journey for the purposes of the Weekly Travel Reward."... which indicates that a change in mode does not result in a new journey.

But yes, you are right - it is a new fare flagfall.

I wonder what happens if you do bus-train-bus.

Perhaps I'm deluded, but I expect/hope/pray that once the system roll-out has progressed beyond some critical point, they will remove the "mode change penalty" you refer to.  

Failing that, as a distant second consolation prize, if you are going to charge a new flagfall for a change in mode, then at least make it count as a new journey.

Public transport fare increases get the general population very worked up (for concrete examples look at ... this thread!).  With a reduction in mode change penalty there will need to be an increase in fares elsewhere to maintain revenue.  Plus, at the same time you would probably need to address to some extent the disparity between bus and train fares (approx: bus $1.80 flagfall + 0.25 $/km, train $3.00 flagfall + 0.065 $/km, I can hear the sounds of the short distance bus users and the long distance train users sharpening the tips of their pitch forks...).  So softly, softly...

Point to point "crow flies" fares on the bus... excellent.
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

With a reduction in mode change penalty there will need to be an increase in fares elsewhere to maintain revenue.  
donttellmywife
Revenue will be maintained by the sweeping-up of a lot of non-payers and short-payers.  For example, it will no longer be possible to dip a MyBus 1 at Maroubra Junction and ride all the way to the city (hoping that inspectors don't board at Taylor Square).  Tagging on-and-off with Opal will result in precise and full charging.  The only escapees will be those who slip onto the bus in a crowd and are not spotted by the driver.  Oh, and the occasional cheat who tags off surreptitiously but stays on the bus, but those will number far fewer than the number who presently deliberately use the wrong ticket.
  smithagain Junior Train Controller

Salespersons positions at Opal enabled stations are to be "reviewed". Merry Christmas from Gladys.
  Festivus Station Master

Location: Sydney, Australia
Opal readers have started appearing at stations north of Chatswood. Noticed them at Asquith this arvo.
The attendant at Asquith has told me that it will be available during Q1 2014.
  matthewg Train Controller

Opal readers have started appearing at stations north of Chatswood. Noticed them at Asquith this arvo.
The attendant at Asquith has told me that it will be available during Q1 2014.
Festivus
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 ?
  Aurora8 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Sydney
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"

Supposed to be as far as Wyong. I've heard they're looking at January for the next extension, but doesn't matter if they don't do them in the one hit. Still got more than three months left before Q2.
  matthewg Train Controller

Supposed to be as far as Wyong. I've heard they're looking at January for the next extension, but doesn't matter if they don't do them in the one hit. Still got more than three months left before Q2.
Aurora8

I'm guessing an early Jan for the 'Extension 2' to Wyong, at some point after the hardware is in and they have remote comms to all the gates and poles, some one in Opal HQ will press the button and they will all come on-line at the same time. Then the installers will start on the west. It's promised for Q1 as well, so they can't mess about.

The rate the poles are getting readers (it must be 2 or 3 stations a day!), it doesn't look like they should have much trouble meeting the public targets. They will probably be at Wyong by mid next week. This group appears to be doing poles only, the stations with gates appear to have been skipped. The should have no trouble getting it all end by years end at this rate.

As to what their internal targets for completion are.....
  Festivus Station Master

Location: Sydney, Australia
Does anyone have any idea when the ECRL is supposed to come online?
  Alamein_Line Chief Commissioner

According to the Opal Website , First Quarter of 2014 ( along with Chatswood - Wyong , Inner West and North Main )

https://www.opal.com.au/en/about-opal/what-services-can-i-use-it-on/Trains/

Bottom of page has maps showing the plans

Of course , as reported above , exact dates have not been announced , presumably giving a bit of leeway
  Alfred3333 Locomotive Fireman

Does anyone know which line would be the last to be rolled out with opal card ticketing?
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
Does anyone know which line would be the last to be rolled out with opal card ticketing?
Alfred3333
I think it should be the Bankstown line.

Dave
  Alfred3333 Locomotive Fireman

I think it should be the Bankstown line.

Dave
"thadocta"


Are there any signs of installation of opal card readers there?
  Blackadder Chief Commissioner

Location: Not the ECRL
4 readers installed at Mount Colah, one double pole reader in the centre and single readers on either side.
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
With a reduction in mode change penalty there will need to be an increase in fares elsewhere to maintain revenue.
donttellmywife
This assumes that we actually care about maintaining revenue.  MyZone absolutely savaged revenue and I don't see anyone whining about that.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
This assumes that we actually care about maintaining revenue.  MyZone absolutely savaged revenue and I don't see anyone whining about that.
simonl
That's because you can't "see" a whine.  But if you listen carefully enough...
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
I don't know what you mean "listen carefully enough".  Even IPART are deciding discretion is the better part of valour on complaining about that.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
As you know, IPART only set(*) the maximum increase, they can't force that increase to be adopted.  That said...

"We consider that our approach to setting maximum fares by setting the appropriate balance between taxpayers and passengers should be maintained and our analysis implies that real fare increases are needed."

Their latest determination clearly gave flexibility to TfNSW to undo some of the revenue damage that MyZone caused - with them setting a maximum average fare change, rather than specifying the maximum change for each fare.  Part of the revenue loss associated with MyZone may have been because of the way previous IPART determinations were structured (though realistically I think a large part of it was a need to make the ticketing structure change less controversial for the travelling public).  Not any more.  "There are no limits on the change in individual fares."

I don't think there are many in the bureaucracy (particularly treasury...) that think the passenger rail system's cost recovery is acceptable.  We all want nice trains running at high frequencies on lines everywhere... the money for that needs to come from somewhere.

(*) Strongly recommend, really.  With appropriate legislation and ministerial direction, the government of the day can obviously dial fares up or down as they see fit.
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
IPART might only set maximum fares, but they are still the lead agency for thinking about fares unfortunately.  They also always recommend fare rises above inflation.

What I mean is you don't see them bemoaning the loss of more reasonable fares for longer distance journeys.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
I'm not sure why you put "unfortunately" in there.  I think you might be conflating the difference between advice and authority.

It is always difficult (and often not useful) to guess intent or desire in the absence of a reliable, direct statement.  That said... have a look at how the maximum fare limit is calculated in the most recent determination - it is weighted on the basis of number of tickets.  That means that there is implicitly much greater leverage to increase fares for travel over distances that have a lower number of tickets.  Then look at the distribution of ticket sales with distance (see Box 9.1 in the final report for 2010 figures)...

As usual, it is up to the powers that be as to how fares are set, but there's a pretty strong suggestion there...
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
I'm not sure why you put "unfortunately" in there.  
donttellmywife
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.

It is always difficult (and often not useful) to guess intent or desire in the absence of a reliable, direct statement.
donttellmywife
They have made a number of direct statements about preventing transferring passengers from getting a discount.

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