The Transport Minister has backed commuters who manipulate their travel to get the best deal out of their Opal card, potentially saving them, and costing the government, hundreds of dollars a year.
Under the Opal fare structure, travel is free after the card-holder has made eight trips in a week.
This has created an incentive for people to take cheap – and potentially useless – trips early in the week to make significant savings later on.
“I want people to beat the system,” Gladys Berejiklian said. “I want people to find the savings because they are there to be had,” she said.
I thought this was already pretty obvious from the Fares & benefits page
By understanding Opal’s fare structure, and what it means for your journey, you can work out ways to save even more.
Updated 6/3/2015 for new 2015 fares
Due to the way Opal implements minimum required balances for travel, it’s possible for your Opal card to fall into having a negative balance.
To travel with Opal, all that’s required is the minimum balance at time of tap on.
The minimum value to tap on with Opal depends on the time of tap on and the mode of transport. For trains, the minimum balance is $2.36 during off-peak and $3.38 during peak hours. For ferries it is $5.74 and for buses or light rail, $2.10.
Of course, you will need to top up again in order to use the card, but once you’ve tapped on, you can travel anywhere and tap off.
With the announcement that now you can purchase an unregistered opal card from a retailer with as little as $10 cash, this makes this option slightly more feasible.