Train tickets head for the history books

PARRAMATTA commuters won’t need a ticket to ride soon with the Opal card set to be activated in western Sydney this month.

Ticketless transport will be introduced on the Carlingford Line from Friday and on the Western and Cumberland Lines on February 28.

The Opal card has been progressively rolled out to train lines and by the end of the month commuters will be able to use it at 120 stations across the network.

The card can already be used on Sydney Ferries on the Parramatta River and by the end of the year will be activated on all state-government trains, buses, ferries and light rail.

Parramatta MP Geoff Lee said he was ‘‘delighted’’ to see the card, which can already be used at City Circle and North Shore Line stations, available at Parramatta station.

‘‘It will mean cheaper fares and shorter queues for many Parramatta commuters,’’ Mr Lee said.

‘‘As the fourth busiest station across the network with over 32,000 commuters daily, Parramatta station will benefit greatly from Opal.’’

Peak-time trips from Parramatta to Central,  Blacktown and Lidcombe will cost 50 cents less with the Opal Card.

After eight paid journeys from Monday to Sunday, all subsequent journeys are free for commuters using the card.

However, tens of thousands of people are expected to have to pay more to use the transport network under the card.

While the card charges less for individual journeys it has been criticised for working against those who travel to Sydney on weekly, monthly or quarterly public transport tickets. It has also been lambasted for not integrating fare structures and charging commuters separate fares for each individual bus, train or ferry trip.

Opal card rollout 

■Western Line: Richmond and Emu Plains to Harris Park - February 14

■Western Line: Granville to City - February 14

■Carlingford Line: Carlingford to Rosehill - February 14

■Western Line: Richmond and Emu Plains to Harris Park - February 28 

■Cumberland Line: Between Schofields and Casula - February 28

■Opal cards can be used to travel on all Sydney Ferries

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