(seems the previous dedicated Central Station refresh update from a few weeks before has disappeared, and replaced with the below;)
transportnsw.info, Monday 25th May
Town Hall and Central stations are currently undergoing a refresh with new tiling and glazing, fresh paint and other upgrades taking place around the concourse level.
The refresh work will take place overnight and during weekend trackwork over the coming months to avoid busy peak periods and reduce impact on customers.
The work is expected to be completed by mid-2015, with the modernised and streamlined look to be more appealing and user-friendly for customers.
Work areas may have a temporary impact on station access and facilities, so please see station staff if you need assistance.
We appreciate your patience and understanding while this important work is completed.
Transport for NSW, 23rd May 2015
A media report today claiming that there is a $20 million revenue shortfall on State Transit buses because of Opal is completely false and misleading.
Over the last 12 months, revenue for STA buses has met expectations, with numbers comparable to recent years.
The claim published today uses incomparable data to make assertions which are consequently false and misleading.
Transport for NSW has always structured Opal fares and benefits such as free trips into its revenue projections. These reward free trips are an incentive to use public transport more, and this is proven by the increased use of public transport on weekends and on trains in the CBD.
The claim that earlier this month transport authorities were forced to install new software to fix Opal is false and misleading. Software upgrades are normal and standard activities on every electronic system.
EDIT: Transport for NSW has issued a Media Release in response here
Richard Noone & Jim O’Rourke, The Daily Telegraph, 23rd May 2015
Opal Card ticket machine malfunctions are costing the state government tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Passengers and drivers on State Transit Authority buses have been complaining for months about the “tap on, tap off” travel smartcard machines breaking down on a daily basis.
Drivers on the fleet’s 5000 buses say faulty card readers are letting passengers travel free on “entire bus runs’’.
Tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue have been racked up, a shortfall to be ultimately footed by taxpayers.
Exclusive data obtained by The Saturday Telegraph reveals fare box revenue in the 12 months since the Opal card rollout is just $330.2 million.
That is $20 million less than the four-year average of $350.25 million identified by an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal review from 2008-09 to 2011-12. Continue reading
Kelsey Munro, Sydney Morning Herald, 22nd May 2015
Transport for NSW has provided police and immigration authorities with access to the personal information of dozens of Opal card users suspected of criminal offences.
Registered Opal cards, which are linked with users’ names, addresses, email and phone contacts and bank accounts, provide the authorities with the ability to track a users’ journeys across the public transport network by time and date.
The first figures on information disclosures to be released by Transport for NSW indicate there have been 166 Law Enforcement Requests from NSW Police, and 15 from the Department of Immigration, since the full rollout of the Opal system in December 2014. Personal information was disclosed on 57 of these requests: 19 for proceedings of an offence, 6 missing persons and 32 on reasonable grounds of an offence, according to a department spokesman. Continue reading
ALICIA WOOD, The Daily Telegraph, 20th May 2015
Millions of Opal card users are unwittingly contributing to a $10 million state government fund, with the money sitting in their automatic “top-up’’ accounts accruing interest for government coffers.
Opal card users who choose to automatically “top up” their cards are charged as soon as their balance reaches $10 — and with at least half of the state’s two million users choosing the “auto top-up” system — the government is holding on to more than $10 million, on which it earned $176,000 interest in the last financial year.
Opposition transport spokesman Ryan Park said there was no reason commuters should be barred from using all the funds on their card: “Not only is the government pocketing the funds, they are making interest off money that isn’t theirs, it is absolutely outrageous. Opal card users who have activated the ‘auto top up’ option are essentially being charged a hidden $10 fee for the privilege of catching their train, bus or ferry.”
A Transport for NSW spokesman said the $10 amount was chosen because it covers the maximum single adult train fare of $8.30 to the Central Coast, Illawarra and Blue Mountains.
The spokesman said any interest earned on the held funds would pay for the operation of the Opal card system.
“When a customer tops up their Opal card, whether by auto top up or other means, the funds are securely held by the Commonwealth Bank who are part of the consortium working with TfNSW to deliver Opal,” the spokesman said.
“Any interest earned on the funds is used to contribute to the costs of operating Opal.’