Not all commuters see Opal as a gem

On board: John Svoboda likes the Opal card. "It will crack down on fare evasion," he said. Picture: Anna Warr

On board: John Svoboda likes the Opal card. "It will crack down on fare evasion," he said. Picture: Anna Warr

NOT all commuters are on board with the Opal card, just days before 14 paper train tickets are phased out.

Some feel they have no choice but to get an Opal card before next Monday.

Weekly train tickets and off-peak return train tickets are some of the fares no longer available.

While many major stations have pop-up kiosks to help with the transition, St Marys and Mount Druitt are not among them.

The Blacktown pop-up kiosk is open only between 7am and 10am and 3pm to 6pm on Mondays, and 7am to 10am on Tuesdays.

A government employee who is a commuter from Rooty Hill contacted the Star to describe Opal as "a rip-off".

He bought the yearly ticket being phased out and will be $541 (26 per cent) a year worse off when forced to register.

Commuters who bought quarterly and monthly tickets will also pay more.

"A lot of people are not saving under Opal," the commuter said.

Mount Druitt Commuters Improvement Group member John Svoboda had doubts before he recently bought an Opal card.

He was previously paying $51 a week on train and bus fares and is now saving $13.40 a week, which equates to about $696 a year.

He enjoys free travel for the rest of the week after eight journeys.

"I don't have a credit or debit card because I don't like being in debt," Mr Svoboda said.

"I ended up having to buy a throwaway debit card at Australia Post to buy an Opal card.

"It was daunting at first but once you start using it, it's easy to figure it out; it's not as bad as people think."

Blacktown commuter Kay Krensel: "I find the Opal card secure and convenient; it does not cost me any more than buying my ticket fortnightly and I never have to worry about renewing it, as it tops up automatically. For the frequent public transport user, it is well worth having."

Click below to read what Star reporter Kylie Stevens  thinks of the Opal system

Details: 13 67 25 or opal.com.au.

What do you think? Comment at stmarysstar.com.au.

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