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Opal - The New Electronic Ticketing System in NSW, Australia

NSW, Australia is now experiencing an upgrade for the public transport system. The NSW government has just implemented the new electronic ticketing system, Opal. With Opal system, commuters need the credit-card-like, opal card.

The Opal card is an easy, convenient way of paying for your travel on public transport. It has been successfully rolled out across all Sydney ferries, Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink Intercity services and a number of bus services.

Yesterday, 1 September, 2014, fourteen (14) types of paper tickets are being retired. This means customers will no longer be able to buy them from this date onward. Tickets bought before September 1, will remain valid until their expiration date. Commuters can still buy long-term tickets online.

Opal cards cost nothing, but require a minimum "load" of $40 online and $10 in stores.
They can be found at retailers including 7-11 convenience stores and at kiosks running until early October.
Alternatively commuters can have a card sent to them after registering online.

While debate over whether Opal is cheaper than paper continues, the government has capped the maximum cost per day at $15.

Opal users travel for free for the rest of the week after they have made eight "journeys", which could include two trips close together. Top-ups can be done at retailers or online.

An introduction to Opal Card

Types of Opal Card

How do I get an Opal Card

Whilst we enjoy this new system in New South Wales (NSW), our fellow Filipinos in Metro Manila are suffering from the poor services of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) System.

The MRT, thought to be cheap and quick during its early days, is now the opposite. Commuters are constantly experiencing  long queues everyday, eventually resulting to workers/employees late at their work. Some may have to file for half-day leave as well.

In addition to long queues, there was even an accident last month where the MRT train has been derailed. The MRT has really become a perennial source of aggravation for thousands of commuters everyday.

I empathize with our fellows back in the Philippines. I just hope all of these issues will be addressed by the Philippines government soon and not to wait for the year of 2016 - the next national election - to come.

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