Public transport in Sydney is provided by an extensive network of operating modes including suburban rail, light rail, buses and ferries. The network will also include a mode of rapid transit, with the new Sydney Metro opening in early 2019. According to the 2006 census, in terms of travel to work or study Sydney has the highest rate of public transport usage among the Australian capital cities of 26.3% with more than 80% of weekday trips to/from Central Sydney being made by public transport. According to the New South Wales State Plan, the state has Australia’s largest public transport system. The network is regulated by Transport for NSW.
Sydney’s early urban sprawl can be traced in part to the development of its passenger rail network. The first rail services began in 1855, 67 years after the settlement’s foundation and a tram network which began in 1861, becoming the Southern Hemisphere’s largest by the 1920s. This rail infrastructure allowed working-class suburbs to develop at a large distance from the city centre. In terms of effectiveness and sustainability of public transport, Sydney lagged behind Brisbane and many other cities in a 2017 study by design firm Arcadis, where it was ranked at 51.
2018 sees the award of the contract to upgrade the Traffic management centre into a multi-modal transport management centre. The new Rail Operations Centre will start to come on line in its state of the art new facility. The continued growth of tolled highways progresses. The expansion of the tram network is expected to see CBD trams running in 2019 while work on the new Metro continues.
Details of future plans are detailed here:
Smart Card ticketing made easy
Opal is a contactless fare collection system for public transport services in the greater Sydney area of New South Wales, Australia. Operation of the Opal system is managed by the New South Wales Government’s transport authority, Transport for NSW. First launched in late 2012, Opal is valid on Transport for NSW’s bus, rail, light rail and ferry services that operate in Sydney and the neighbouring Central Coast, Hunter Region, Blue Mountains and Illawarra areas. It is also accepted on train services in the Southern Highlands. Opal equipment was designed from the start to support a variety of cards, but launched with the captive Opal cards.
Opal cards are the standard method of paying for fares on the Opal system. The card is a credit card-sized smartcard which includes a microchip and internal RFID aerial, allowing the card to communicate with readers. The microchip enables value to be loaded onto the card, as well as allowing the journey details to be recorded and the appropriate fare deducted from the stored value on the card. Passengers ‘tap on’ and ‘tap off’ any services whenever they travel through the public transport network. Opal cards can also be used to pay for fares on selected third party transport services via a facility known as OpalPay.
To catch trains, buses, ferries and light rail in Sydney and surrounding areas you will need an Opal card or Opal single ticket. The Opal network covers all of Sydney, north to Newcastle, west to the Blue Mountains and south to Wollongong and the Southern Highlands. If you are taking more than one trip on public transport, using an Opal Card is the most convenient and affordable way to pay for your fares. Simply tap on and off as you go.