Travel Passes, Sydney

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  • Waiting for a Ferry to Manly
    Waiting for a Ferry to Manly
    by cjg1
  • Getting ready to use our ticket
    Getting ready to use our ticket
    by cjg1
  • Riding the Ferry
    Riding the Ferry
    by cjg1
  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Opal Card - All You Need

    by wabat Updated May 30, 2015

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sydney has not long since moved into the 21st century and come up with its Opal Card – Sydney’s version of London’s Oyster card, if you like.

    The Opal Card, which you pre-load with cash, works on (most of) Sydney Ferries, Sydney and metropolitan trains, the light rail system and Sydney Buses. I say most of, as some stations – a minority and unlikely to be of interest to the average tourist – still do not have card readers and still require you to have a paper ticket. Use of the Opal Card offers very large savings over paying cash fares – which off course the authorities are trying to get rid of through exorbitant pricing.

    Like all ‘good’ public transport systems pricing is complex and working out what the best option is for the traveller can be tricky and depends on how long you will be in Sydney, the day of the week you arrive, which forms of transport you want to use, distance travelled, time of day or night (relates to trains and night buses only) and, of course, your anticipated frequency of travel.

    While all-day tickets and various weekly options are available I am going to limit this review to the Opal Card which is almost without exception the cheapest option and, by far and away the simplest to use and easiest to understand method of accessing public transport in the Sydney area. You can use it 24/7 on any of the four forms of transport referred to above. Day tickets, MyMulti, MyTrain etc, etc tickets all come with various forms of restrictions and conditions – though to be fair, some permit discounted entry to Taronga Zoo, for example.

    Of course with the Opal Card, the fare you ‘nominally’ pay is conditional on all the above factors and maybe more but I am going to suggest you ignore all published fares and the rules around them and you will be fine (bold I hear you say, but indulge me a little longer) but do not ignore the following rules and conditions.

    The Opal rules/conditions you need to understand (for a ‘standard adult’) are:

    1. A week runs from Monday to Sunday
    2. A day starts at 4am
    3. The maximum you will pay on any day (Mon – Sat) is $15 (with the exception of train travel of to and from the airport. This exception applies to all types of ticket and there is no way around it)
    4. The maximum you will pay on a Sunday is $2.50 (no other ticket offers this unless you are travelling with children)
    5. The maximum you will pay in a week is $60.00 and the best rule –
    6. Take 8 paid journeys from Monday-Sunday with an Opal Card and every additional journey you make that Opal week is free.

    While 1-5 are self explanatory 6 needs further comment as this is the rule that will mean most tourists will pay less than $60 for a full weeks travel on all modes of transport.

    The first point to note in relation to point 6 is that a journey does not equal one trip (though it can) but rather can be a sequence of trips on a single mode, e.g bus where the break between exiting one bus and entering another is less than 60 minutes (and 60 minutes on all other modes except the Sydney Ferries Manly service where the transfer time is 130 minutes).

    Doing it on the cheap - Noting that fares differ between modes, buses cheapest and ferries most expensive, if you start using your Opal Card on a Monday morning and only use buses until you have amassed the 8 paid journeys you could in theory get a full weeks travel for $15. This is done by taking 8 bus trips (ensuring at least an hour between each one) of between 0 and 3 kms on day one which at $2.10 per trip would ordinarily cost $16.80 but the last trip only costs 30cents* as the daily $15 cap knocks in. (The 30 cents journey may not count as a paid journey – if that is so then you will need to do 7 journeys on day one and the 8th the following day and your total outlay for the full week will be $16.80)

    Were you to take say four ferry trips on day one the $15 cap knocks in on trip three so the fourth and any subsequent travel that day don’t count towards your eight journeys. As such, it will take a few days longer to hit the 8 journeys and the cost of doing so will be higher. While the time transfer rules can work against you if you are determined to get a weeks travel for $15 they work with you if you limit stops to just less than the permitted time.

    Of course, only the most thrifty traveller will organise their trip such that only buses, at the required intervals, and 8 of them are taken on day one. Most of us are less organized.

    Earlier I said that you should just get an Opal Card and use buses, trains, light rail and ferries when it suits you, totally ignoring the fares and fare rules. I did exactly this on a recent trip to Sydney and the 8 valid journeys kicked in sometime mid day three so my total cost of travel for the week (had I stayed the full week which I didn’t) would have been around $35 as I had hit the $15 cap on day one and two. A great bargain I feel, without trying or even thinking about fares, fare rules or the time of day.

    Of course, if you are in Sydney just for the weekend just cop the $15 cap on Saturday and the $2.50 one on Sunday – or do all your travelling on Sunday for just $2.50.

    A few additional comments

    Train travel to the airport incurs a surcharge but while not covered by the caps referred to earlier use of your Opal Card minimises the surcharge and the non surcharge part of the fare is included in the caps.

    All costs stated in this review relate to ‘a standard adult’. Various concession fares are available with very good looking offers for the elderly. Check the Opal website for detail.

    Sydney Transport is expansive so you can use the Opal Card to get to the Blue Mountains, The Central Coast, The Hunter, Illawarra, Newcastle, Goulburn and many more places well outside the City.

    Cards can be registered (but don’t have to be) and thus cancelled and money transferred to a new card should you loose the card.

    Any day you don’t travel you pay nothing – not so with a weekly prepaid card.

    Getting and using an Opal Card

    Purchasing an Opal Card – The card itself is free though useless without a credit. A card can be bought online or at loads of places throughout the Sydney region but not from Sydney Transport itself (so you can’t get one on a bus, at train stations, on the ferry etc, etc). Top-ups can be done online, at Card sales outlets as well as via machines at a limited number of train stations and ferry wharves. A full list of outlets can be viewed on the website. Check out the airport ones if coming into the city by air, otherwise you will find outlets near all train stations, etc.

    Using the Card – Basically you must ‘tap on’ and ‘tap off ‘each time you travel. Tap on, tap off machines are on buses but at stations/wharves only for trains, light rail and ferries. If you fail to tap on you will be fined for not having a ticket (inspectors check). If you fail to tap off you will be charged a fare to the end of the route on which you travelled.

    While lengthy, the above is a condensed version of Sydney’s Opal system. There is loads of additional detail on the Opal Card website. Pictures 2 - 4 attached courtesy of Opal.com.au

    Again, and without meaning to harp on, just get a card and don’t worry – just use it knowing it’s the cheapest and best way to get around Sydney in 99% of cases. I have to give myself an out!!!!!

    My Opal Card Tap-on Machine on Bus Tap On Machine in Train Station Tap On Machine - Ferry and Light Rail
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  • antistar's Profile Photo

    Opal Card

    by antistar Written May 14, 2015

    Sydney has introduced a card based "pay as you go" system, which is both simple and good value for money. You just buy the card, load it up with some cash, and then use it. It works out the best price, and is capped so that you don't spend more than your daily limit - $15 for adults. This works as a day ticket that you only pay for if you use the transport system enough.

    It's convenient because you can load it at many places, not just at train stations (of which Sydney has relatively few) but also at many newsagents and small shops. Although in my experience some of these shops didn't do this job so willingly if they were busy.

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  • cjg1's Profile Photo

    Travel Pass: My Multi

    by cjg1 Updated Mar 13, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The color coded travel passes went away in 2010 and were replaced with the My series of tickets. MyMulti replaced these specifically and allow you to travel on all city buses, all state ferries and light rail while also allowing City Rail within three zones. These zones create the MyMulti1 for the most restrictive and MyMulti2 as an intermediate and MyMulti3 which allows travel on all of City Rail.

    The information below is older and may or may not be relevant at this time.

    These travel passes are really quite the bargain. For $48 you can get the green travel pass which is good for seven days from date of purchase or seven days from the next day if you buy it after 3pm. If you're going to be there more three days, these are a better option than the DayTripper ticket. It allows unlimited access to all ferries except the Manly JetCat and also most all buses except the Sydney and Bondi Explorer buses. The trains are a little more limited but not badly. My personal call for all your transit needs.

    If you need to travel further out on the City Rail system there are other levels of transit pass topping out at purple for $63 per person per week. This will allow you almost the entire City Rail network until getting out into the regional rail market. Based on where my friends live and the areas I choose to explore more often than not I always buy a purple pass now.

    Getting ready to use our ticket Waiting for a Ferry to Manly Riding the Ferry

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  • Sydney Airport Buy MyMulti 1 WEEKLY $41

    by suchness Updated Jun 29, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sydney Airport Buy MyMulti 1 WEEKLY $41

    CHEAPEST way to get in & out of Sydney Airport & get around Sydney for next few days is to fly in
    p.u. your bags then go downstairs & buy a
    MyMulti 1 WEEKLY Ticket $41 from the underground Airport train station
    but - DONT catch the train at the Airport - It will cost extra.

    Head back upstairs & catch the 400 bus to Bondi Junction,
    change at UNSW for the City.

    The MyMulti 1 WEEKLY $41 gets you unlimited trips 24/7 on
    trains around the inner suburbs also
    all private & government scheduled buses,
    all Sydney Ferries & light rail for all suburbs of Sydney for
    7days for $41 including to & from the airport on 400 bus only. (not airport trains)

    -----------------------------------------------

    Heading TO the Airport Catch the 400 Bus from UNSW on ANZAC Parade.
    This will take you all the way into the Airport.

    -----------------------------------------------

    If you time you flights to arrive in the 'arvo' (afternoon) then make your
    first trip using MyMulti 1 WEEKLY $41
    - AFTER 3pm - you get to travel for the rest of that day
    - PLUS the next 7 days.
    Valid until 4am the following morning of the expiry date.

    So that makes it a 7 + 1/2 day TRAVELPASS for $41

    ----------------------------------------------

    MAP MyMulti 1 WEEKLY $41

    http://www.sydneybuses.info/tickets/mymulti-tickets.htm

    http://www.131500.com.au/tickets/fares/myzone

    http://www.cityrail.info/tickets/which/mymulti

    http://www.sydneyferries.info/myzone-tickets-and-fares.htm

    -------------------------------------------

    Limitations

    MyMulti cannot be used:

    * on Sydney Explorer buses
    * on Bondi Explorer buses
    * Special Event Services on Sydney Buses or Sydney Ferries
    * to enter or exit Domestic and International Train stations.
    - A station access fee must be paid.

    --------------------------------------------

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  • sirgaw's Profile Photo

    Great deal for seniors/pensioners

    by sirgaw Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This tip is for Australian seniors/pensioners.

    OK we work hard all our lives and then reach that age when we qualify for a seniors card – along with reading glasses, a sign that we are getting older. To qualify for a seniors card in my own state of Victoria, the applicant must be 60 years or older and work 30 hours or less per week. I would assume that the rules for other states and territories of Australia are the same.

    In 2009 there was an agreement between the Australian states and territories to extend the privileges for discounted travel to all card holders regardless of where they live in Australia (sorry, not applicable to overseas seniors/pensioners, although a polite request to a friendly ticket staff member may get you the discount – no harm in asking).

    The cost for all day travel on Sydney and Newcastle trains, buses and ferries is $2.50 and that is a great deal. The discounted ticket does not include travel on certain premium services and nor does it allow access to the domestic and international terminals at Mascot Airport. Sydney’s monorail and light rail are also excluded. In spite of these restrictions, it is a great deal to get around Sydney and beyond by public transport. See the web site for coverage area map.

    Similar all day adult tickets cost $17.00 or child $8.60 and do include discounts to a number of popular Sydney attractions - see http://www.cityrail.info/tickets/casual/daytripper

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  • ashutoshg's Profile Photo

    Cheap Sundays in Sydney

    by ashutoshg Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Families in Sydney on a Sunday can enjoy all day travel for $ 2.50 per person.

    Family Funday Sunday tickets are valid for travel on buses, trains and ferries around metropolitan and outer metropolitan Sydney, including Newcastle and Wollongong.

    To purchase these tickets, a travelling group must be related by family and include at least one child and one adult.

    Tickets can be bought from bus drivers (excluding PrePay services), CityRail stations, ferry ticket offices, authorised newsagents, 7-Elevens and convenience stores.

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  • pmarshuk's Profile Photo

    Sydney Pass

    by pmarshuk Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    To get around Sydney buy a Sydney Pass. This will let you use the Explorer buses, ordinary buses, trains, Harbour cruises and ferries.
    It's available for 3,5,or 7 days
    Also if you get it at the airport you can use it on some coaches into the city (but not trains)

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  • Sydney Airport Buy RED TRAVELPASS WEEKLY $41

    by suchness Updated Feb 1, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sydney Airport Buy RED TRAVELPASS WEEKLY $41

    CHEAPEST way to get in & out of Sydney Airport & get around Sydney for next few days is to fly in p.u. your bags then go downstairs & buy a
    RED TRAVELPASS WEEKLY Ticket from the underground Airport train station
    but - DONT catch the train at the Airport - It will cost extra.

    Head back upstairs & catch the 400 bus to Bondi Junction,
    change at UNSW for the City.

    The RED TRAVELPASS WEEKLY gets you unlimited trips 24/7 on
    ferries, buses & trains around the inner suburbs of Sydney for 7days for $41 including to & from the airport on 400 bus only. (not airport trains)

    -----------------------------------------------

    Heading TO the Airport Catch the 400 Bus from UNSW on ANZAC Parade.
    This will take you all the way into the Airport.

    -----------------------------------------------

    If you time you flights to arrive in the 'arvo' (afternoon) then make your
    first trip using RED TRAVELPASS WEEKLY
    - AFTER 3pm - you get to travel for the rest of that day
    - PLUS the next 7 days.
    Valid until 4am the following morning of the expiry date.

    So that makes it a 7 + 1/2 day TRAVELPASS for $41

    ----------------------------------------------

    MAP RED TRAVELPASS WEEKLY

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=105686047848531438589.0004650a56d062f8e7108

    http://www.sydneyferries.info/maps.htm

    http://www.sydneybuses.info/tickets/combined-tickets/travelpass.htm

    http://www.cityrail.info/fares/travelpass.jsp

    -------------------------------------------

    Limitations

    TravelPasses cannot be used:

    * on Sydney Explorer buses
    * on Bondi Explorer buses
    * on Sydney Buses and Sydney Ferries special event services
    or private bus company services
    * to enter or exit Green Square, Mascot,
    Domestic and International Train stations.
    - A station access fee must be paid.

    --------------------------------------------

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  • adventureDreaming's Profile Photo

    bus passes

    by adventureDreaming Updated Jun 15, 2009

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    If you're just going to the Blue Mountains once (even if it's over a couple of days), you might be better getting a cheaper weekly ticket and buying separate tickets to the Blue Mountains - a weekly pass is priced on the assumption that you commute daily.

    Another tip is that if you start using your pass after 3pm then it is valid for that day plus the next 7 days - so you might get 8 days for the price of 7 depending on what time you arrive.

    Even though the airport train line is privately owned, your weekly ticket is valid on it. You just have to pay an additional station access fee - $2 - $3 from memory.

    Probably the most useful tip I can give you is to go to Sydney's public transport web site - www.131500.com.au - it covers trains, buses and ferries, plus the price of the various kinds of passes.

    Have fun in Sydney...

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Cheap 7 Day TravelPass for Buses, Trains, Ferries

    by Kakapo2 Written Jun 27, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nothing is more effective to get around in Sydney than with public transportation. You just get everywhere - by train, bus, and ferry.

    But there are different kinds of transportation passes which can make travelling cheap or blow your budget.

    If you click on tourist links on the transportation websites you immediately get to those expensive passes like Sydney Pass and Sydney Explorer. But really, you do not need a hop-on and -off pass to quickly get around, public transport is as effective as this. It takes a lot to make a Sydney Pass which also includes rebates for Sydney attractions worth the purchase.

    The cheap transportation pass is called TravelPass which is valid for seven days. It is available in different colours, depending on the areas you want to cover.

    If you are in Sydney longer than a day or two I would always recommend the TravelPass. The seven day red pass costs $ 35, whereas three single day trippers would cost 3 x 16 $, so $ 48. (For comparison: The 3 day Sydney Pass would cost $ 110.)

    The seven day green pass costs $ 43, and includes all ferries except the Manly JetCat.

    More info here:

    http://www.sydneybuses.info/tickets/prices.php#travelpass

    The best thing always is to go to a ticket counter upon arrival and ask for the cheapest way of getting around, without any fancy extras.

    Map of the railway network here:

    http://www.sydneybuses.info/tickets/cityrailmap.php

    Passing Harbour Bridge in a train.
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  • jlanza29's Profile Photo

    Easy, safe and cheap !!!!

    by jlanza29 Updated May 27, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Upon arriving is Sydney consider buying a Sydney travel pass that allows you unlimited access to the buses, the ferries, and trains all over Sdyney and it includes the Sydney explorer buses that included the red line and blure line in the city....Sydney transportaion system is very easy to navigate and very tourist friendly.......passes are avaiable for 3,5, and 7 days stays....and it includes to and from the airport....checkout the web site below for more info !!!!! and by buying the pass....your intitled to various discounts at serveral tourist sites such as the zoo, the AMP tower, the aquarium, etc.,.....HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT !!!!!

    UPDATE: MAY 2008

    The price of a 5 day pass is now $169 AU !!!! we paid $99 AU in 2004 again, prices going thru the roof !!!!

    on the way to Manly
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  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Day tripper

    by leffe3 Written Sep 6, 2007

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    The daytripper ticket is great value at A$15.40. Trains, buses and ferries are all included in the one ticket. If you plan to travel by ferry anywhere and catch a couple of buses or trains, totally worthwhile. Considering the return ferry to Manly from Circular Quays is A$15, it gives you an idea of the value of ticket.

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  • DayTripper tickets and others

    by cyclops25503 Written Apr 14, 2007

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    Don't bother buying single tickets for anywhere. Grab a $15.40 DayTripper pass. It costs $15.40 and you get unlimited travel for that day on Sydney Buses, Trains and Ferries until 4 am the next morning.

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  • arv1's Profile Photo

    Sydney Explorer Pass

    by arv1 Updated Jul 1, 2005

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    This was such a great pass!!

    There are two main bus routes that tour around Sydney, both are available on the same pass, and you get to see the whole of Sydney! It stops in all the main tourist spots, as well as other places you would not have thought to stop off!

    The bus stops are easy to find, and are located quite near to one another, so if you miss the bus at one stop, you could walk to the next stop in 20 minutes and make it!! Thats provided you now where you are going!!

    This was probably the best thing I bought in Sydney!!

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  • CharleneP's Profile Photo

    Sydney Pass

    by CharleneP Written May 18, 2004

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    To make the most of your visit, inclusive sightseeing package that combines the harbour, city, bay and beach.

    Your get a Sydney Pass for 3, 5 or 7 day tickets include unlimited travel on the Sydney, Bondi & Parramatta Explorer buses & on Harboursights cruises + travel free on regular ferries, buses & City Rail trains. That includes direct train transfers to and from the airport on Airport link

    It offers deals and discounts on numerous Sydney attractions.

    Fares for Sydney Pass:
    3 day for adult $90
    5 day for adult $120
    7 day for adult $140

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Comments (1)

  • Jul 27, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    You should catch a train past the airport and get off the at Wolli Creek or Mascot to avoid the Airport Link surcharge. This is an interesting analysis of the cost associated with catching the train all the way to the airport. For the 1km distance is more than double the fare.

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