Sydney needs an Opal card for visitors

The NSW government should create a dedicated Visitor Opal card that combines unlimited public transport with tickets to Sydney’s major attractions. The Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) has today released its agenda for the tourism industry in NSW, which includes the call prepaid one, three and five day visitor travel cards.

Chief Executive, Margy Osmond, said “The Opal card has been a stunning success. It has completely revolutionised the experience of catching public transport for locals. Its full potential to improve the transport experience for visitors is, however, yet to be realised.

“The old system was based around ten trips per week – one for getting to and from work each day – but the TravelTen also presented an easy-to-grasp product for visitors. By contrast, the Opal card is encouraging people to use public transport outside of these ten trips, to get around on the weekend, to go to the shops, and to travel to meetings. It is not currently very easy for non-residents to buy or understand.

“A Visitor Opal could offer different and unique products tailored to the needs of visitors – for example, unlimited travel across the network for set periods of time. One, three or five day unlimited passes would encourage visitors to see more of Sydney and spread the benefit of their visit right across our city.

“However, as a first step, the Opal card should be available for both public and private ferry services in order to enhance the offering of an Opal visitor product and encourage a fair, competitive environment.”

“A more sophisticated system of integrated ticketing should also be considered. Visitors should be able to purchase tickets to major attractions using their Visitor Opal card and receive additional benefits like the discounts offered through Melbourne’s myki card. Simplifying access to these attractions would make life easier for visitors and bring NSW up to worlds-best practice.

“Specific Opal products for business events like conventions or exhibitions should also be introduced. The availability of unlimited transport for the duration of an event would significantly improve Sydney’s offering in what is a very competitive international market.

“This type of temporary, event-specific travel card is already under consideration in Queensland, where a G20 GoCard was distributed to attendees and media delegates to facilitate their stay and promote the event.”