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Introducing OPAL Card

Sydney / New South Wales Transport Discussion

Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby matthewg » Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:50 am

Passenger 57 wrote:Obviously, better policies can be designed. I don't like deposits either but either way your funds are kept hostage. My preferences would be a fare system simple enough to operate with disposable tickets or a an implementation of contactless with the same fares and benefits as the reloadable card.


Sydney loves copying London, but so far we haven't copied their contactless rollout - ours so far slugging contactless uses CASH fare rates instead of Opal card rates.
I've just been in London where I used Android Pay to get about and paid the SAME fares as my wife who is still using her (now over 10 years old) Oyster card.

I gather London's eventual intention is to issue actual Oyster cards only to those groups that need 'special' fares and the small number of 'cranks' who refuse to get a contactless card or refuse to let TfL machines near their bank-issued card. They are well on the way to this aim - a large percentage of regulars are now using contactless banking cards and not Oyster cards.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Passenger 57 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:28 pm

matthewg wrote:I gather London's eventual intention is to issue actual Oyster cards only to those groups that need 'special' fares and the small number of 'cranks' who refuse to get a contactless card or refuse to let TfL machines near their bank-issued card.

My previous assessment based on a public TfL documents available a few years back is that they will keep the Oyster brand but (co-) issue their own closed loop EMV card for those cases and make their system totally account based. Its seems certain to me that Oyster stored value cards will go the way of the dodo. I am less certain about free passes since there is less duplication in systems in keeping these using old tech and because TfL will still need to support ITSO cards.

I am somewhat surprised they still haven't released functionality for adding travel cards onto contactless accounts. That seems way overdue now. There may be information in the pile of TfL documents but I am not keen to wade through them at the moment.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby moa999 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:28 pm

Or possibly they want to ditch passes altogether and become more like Sydney.

The one thing they haven't solved is no immediate fare feedback on contactless, although on many older Oyster gates this is hard to read anyway, and the concession issue.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Passenger 57 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:59 pm

moa999 wrote:Or possibly they want to ditch passes altogether and become more like Sydney.
I think passes are part of the plan. Anyway, I doubt the English would stand for it and the excuse of introducing a new ticketing system is not open to them.
However, the weekly cap on contact less which is not available on Oyster PAYG means that it is as economical as a 7 day travelcard purchased on a Monday.

The one thing they haven't solved is no immediate fare feedback on contactless, although on many older Oyster gates this is hard to read anyway, and the concession issue.

Mobile apps are one way of providing feedback. EMV card standards have provisions for transit files so TfL could support that on any cards they issue and this might be enough
to convince 3rd party financial institutions to do the same.

I don't see concessions as being an issue.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby matthewg » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:54 am

moa999 wrote:Or possibly they want to ditch passes altogether and become more like Sydney.

The one thing they haven't solved is no immediate fare feedback on contactless, although on many older Oyster gates this is hard to read anyway, and the concession issue.


At the merest hint that the passes be 'more realistically priced', let alone abolished, the London commuter belt MPs, particularly those in the south-east, are mobbed by their constituents and questions get asked in parliament.
At that point, the transport secretary goes into damage-control mode and puts out a press release stating they have no plans to increase periodical tickets above CPI and the report was an 'internal discussion' paper.
It's serious political hot water to suggest changing the commuter discounts.
There was some angst when our periodicals were removed - but not enough for the government to back-pedal and go into damage control mode like the in the UK. Our lot only do that if large business interests get trodden on. Mere members of the public - ignore them, they will forget it by the next election.


Concession fares on contactless are trivial - register your account details as a concession fare. The processing is all done on the back end - it can charge any fare it likes. I suspect the reason they haven't done this so far is more political than technical - a backlash over TfL recording the bank details of a 'vulnerable' segment of the population in order to give them discount fares.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby andy_centralcoast » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:32 am

From next Wednesday, the public will no longer be able to top up their Opal cards via 13 OPAL.

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/tra ... 50bym.html
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby simonl » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:09 am

matthewg wrote:There was some angst when our periodicals were removed .

Didn't 8-then-free offer the same discount as the weekly passes did? Not many people used the longer periodicals. Not hard to see how it became politically acceptable.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby boronia » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:54 am

simonl wrote:
matthewg wrote:There was some angst when our periodicals were removed .

Didn't 8-then-free offer the same discount as the weekly passes did? Not many people used the longer periodicals. Not hard to see how it became politically acceptable.

Basically it did. But when ever there are changes to something, critics simply look for negative aspects and ignore the (usually) greater benefits.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby simonl » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:12 pm

If the stupidity involved in 8 then free and then remove the free was a deliberate plan to phase out periodicals I would be all for that but I think they just fell into the result they got to.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby boronia » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:53 pm

'You'll get a cab': New $35 minimum for Opal card at Sydney Airport
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/you-ll-get-a-cab-new-35-minimum-for-opal-card-at-sydney-airport-20181029-p50cpi.html

Will this also apply at retail outlets within the airport?

And it does not stop passengers using the card for other travel during the stay, and still having insufficient balance when they leave?
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby simonl » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:57 pm

Huh? For the travelers leaving the airport you'd just make the minimum tap on include the access fee. Thought that was already in place actually.

For travelers going to the airport, this will achieve nothing at all.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby moa999 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:28 pm

Think this has been in place for over a month.. not sure why it's suddenly got press, or what's unfair about it.

Presumably changing that gate logic at the airport stations is not simple. They've already got top-up machines on the paid side at Domestic and International.

This change just hits the low hanging fruit.
People from interstate/overseas buying a $20 card and using it for a return.
Now they pay $35 (most return fares would be in a $35-40 range).

I'm sure they've got the numbers and a fair proportion of these negative balance cards were purchased at the airport and used twice.
Last edited by moa999 on Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby moa999 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:29 pm

7News also had this non<event as an exclusive on Monday night that they promoted multiple times.

https://twitter.com/7NewsSydney/status/ ... 13250?s=19

An alert from the app (presumably only if you don't have auto top up)
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Answer needed as to why bus drivers need to adjust Opal mach

Postby Newcastle Flyer » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:58 am

The other day, I got three errors. My activity statement incorrectly is shown as Tap On Reversal - Customs House, the correct starting point & destination was about 9 to 11 km away.

Because of this and mistakes in where the Opal machine said I got on &/off, I have been overcharged many, many times.

Q1. Why would a driver have to touch/press a button on an Opal machine when I believe a code(1) is used for each bus route. Because a code is entered, shouldn't the Opal machine on the bus know exactly what route the bus is doing, therefore what bus stops is passing?


    1. Two drivers have said it's a code, as two drivers have said that when we had to change from a faulty bus.
And yes I count it as three mistakes; First for saying it was tap on reversal, Two for being mistake & Three for overcharging due to the mistake of tap on reversal mistake.
Last edited by Newcastle Flyer on Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby boeing » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:43 pm

^^
There’s no code as such.
When a driver starts the run, they log onto the Opal machine and it knows (well it should) the drivers shift, the run and the routes.
The driver then selects the route they are about to commence from a list of routes (the run) presented by the Opal machine.
When the route is started it always starts at the first stop and advances through the stops based on GPS positioning.

If the driver needs to change buses mid route, then after logging into the Opal and selecting the correct route on the new bus, the Opal stop will typically need to be manually advanced to the current stop (since it starts at the beginning).
The Opal GPS should work out where the bus actually is but this certainly won’t happen immediately and in my experience may never happen.

Then there are the vagaries of GPS; it doesn’t always know the position (hence why the driver sometimes needs to wake Opal at a stop).
And the Opal BDC itself can have faults like the GPS not working at all or the incorrect shift data being loaded or indeed the driver could choose the incorrect route.

So there’s many reasons why Opal tap on/tap off data from buses could be incorrect.
And most of them happen regularly.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby moa999 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:51 pm

That's a classic issue where the bus Opal GPS isn't working.

Tap-on reversal at start of route - generally charged $0 - you could only end up paying more if you've transferred from other services.

First stop is set by the driver login, then GPS for the remainder. The driver reportedly can manually advance the stop, but I haven't seen anyone bother if the GPS isn't working.

This was fairly common (maybe 5%) in the early days of the bus rollout but I haven't seen it occur in ages (and that's averaging 15-20 trips a week)
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Newcastle Flyer » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:08 pm

Boeing, you wouldn't believe some of the mistakes.

EG: Here are two mistakes that my activity statement showed at the time: From a railway station to Queens Wharf - by ferry :roll:

It claimed I tapped on at a stop - that's not even on the bus route AND the stop was also INWARD, not OUTWARD.

moa999 wrote:Tap-on reversal at start of route - generally charged $0 - you could only end up paying more if you've transferred from other services.

Moa99, it was a transfer fare as in about 47 minutes, then got on a bus 11 minutes between tap off & tap off. That's were it AGAIN for the umpteenth time overcharged me.

If they didn't refund the difference, the overcharging would add up & add up.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby mandonov » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:15 am

I've never seen someone with as many errors as you have. Your experience is an anomaly.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby matthewg » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:26 am

Wierd. I've set out to intentionally do weird trips and never had it do anything wrong that could be considered a logic error in Opal.

Even when a bus has had a non-functional GPS and the driver wasn't advancing the fare stages manually, I got undercharged not overcharged as the system thought I went nowhere.
I've had ONE cause to ask for a refund due to what I would consider a programming error and that was sort of self-inflicted - I held my card against a bus reader before it had turned on for the top. The reader activated and nothing appeared to have happened. So I removed and tapped my card again. It tapped on, not off. The reader had registered a tap off but not displayed anything saying it had.

I'm sure they occasionally replace a reader and get the site programming wrong, but that would be very very rare.

I suspect most complaints about Opal 'overcharging' are Opal actually working as designed, the complaint is really about the fare rules and not actually about Opal itself.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby ScaniaGrenda » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:19 pm

GPS must of been borked at this point or non-functioning on a bus I caught earlier.

I got on at Melbourne St East Maitland and got off at Stockland Greenhills and went to tap off and instead of it deducting my fare it said "TAP ON REVERSED". This trip I took was 2.5KM's in Total.

I got the same bus No# Up to Stockland Greenhills this morning but on another route and it deducted my fare fine without trouble. So I guess it's borked itself some-time throughout the day or the GPS was having a hiccup and failed to read or see that the bus was moving.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby boronia » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:05 pm

How long do you have to wait to register a "tap on reversed" on a bus, rather than getting an "already tapped on" message?

(Or at a non-gated station?)
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby BanksfielderIdiot823 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:01 am

boronia wrote:How long do you have to wait to register a "tap on reversed" on a bus, rather than getting an "already tapped on" message?

(Or at a non-gated station?)


For a non-gated station, you would have to wait 30 seconds before you can register a "tap on reversed".

I think it may be the same on the buses. So looks like the GPS in the bus mentioned in ScaniaGrenda's post would've been well and truly crapping itself that time.
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