Sydney's public transport users are now taking advantage of the new Opal Card to save on weekly travel costs as encouraged by transport minister Gladys Berejiklian.
Train: Macdonaldtown - Erskineville
Macdonaldtown Station (Inner West Line) and Erskineville Station (Bankstown Line) are one of the closest train stations in Sydney that are in different zones. As the Weekly Trip Reward is activated after 8 journeys, an Opal Card holder can easily run between these 2 stations repeatedly within an hour. It is possible to complete up to 7 trips (each of which count as a journey for this situation) in a day before hitting the Daily Travel Cap. Remember to Tap On/Tap Off at each station.
See this in action here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAmhzfWHBFE
Light Rail: Pyrmont Bay - The Star
Pyrmont Pay Light Rail and The Star Light Rail are one of the closest tram stops in Sydney. As the Weekly Travel Reward is activated after 8 journeys, an Opal Card holder can take advantage of the 4 trip per journey setting to utilise this saving. This will involve making up to 32 trips (on foot) between the 2 tram stops as every 5th trip begins a new journey. After the first 7 trips, you'll hit the Daily Travel Cap so the rest of the trips will be free. Remember to Tap On/Tap Off every trip.
Read More: www.reddit.com/r/sydney/comments/2o15ep/opal_weekly_reward_in_one_day_for_15_even_faster
Every 5th trip begins a new journey on the bus. This method may require the commuter changing buses at every stop or Tap On/Tap Off at every stop along the same bus route. George St and Elizabeth St in Sydney are the best places for the 'bus hopping' hack as the bus frequencies are the highest. If you choose to Tap On/Tap Off at every stop on the same bus, try to do so without inconveniencing other commuters or the driver.
Students studying at the University of New South Wales may also take advantage of the 'bus hopping' method by making repeated bus trips up and down High St between UNSW Gate 2, UNSW Gate 8 and UNSW Gate 9 Bus stops.
Read More: www.facebook.com/groups/opalsoc (UNSW Opal Card Savings Society)
How UNSW students have responded to the roll out of the Concession Opal Card
The Opal Card finally arrived for tertiary students in February this year and students at UNSW were one of the first to be apply for the new Concession Opal Card. What has been heralded as a faster and cheaper ticketing method for students has left many asking questions.
With the yearly increases in rides on the 891 express bus at Central, overcrowding and long queues have become all too commonplace and an accepted reality of studying at UNSW. Students have found that Opal Card scanners are somewhat unreliable and without Opal Card scanners at the bus stops, delays in boarding and alighting from buses is becoming a growing issue.
Hundreds of students have signed a petition calling on Transport NSW to change the 891 and 895 bus service into a Tap On Only route with the installation of Opal Card scanners at the 891 bus stop at Central and the 895 bus stop at UNSW for passengers to Tap On before boarding. The ‘Tap On Only For UNSW Bus’ petition was started by Bachelor of Arts (Media & Politics) student, Roydon Ng as an attempt to ease traffic flows & reduce commuter alighting times.
Staying true to the UNSW motto of ‘Never Stand Still’, a group of students have formed the new ‘UNSW Opal Card Savings Society’ aka. OpalSoc in which weekly Opal Savings Sessions are held along with discussions of the best (legal) ways of reducing public transport costs. OpalSoc’s Savings Sessions involve running between Pyrmont Bay and The Starlight rail stops on Mondays with these journeys in order to activate the Opal Weekly Travel Reward. The Pyrmont Bay and The Star light rail stops are about 200 metres apart and an average session takes about half an hour to complete.
For the students involved with OpalSoc, the Weekly Travel Reward when activated on Monday results in free travel for the rest of the week once 8 journeys have been completed. OpalSoc founder and Bachelor of Science/Arts student Johann Blanco says that "I am immensely proud as the Founder of the UNSW Opal Card Savings Society that with the extra money in not only students' pockets but in fact the wider community, we now have extra funds to more easily make ends meet, afford luxuries that we once thought were out of our price range, lessen the amount of time we must save to afford our dream holiday or other major purchase, and perhaps now be able to take out the cute, awesome and amazing girl (or guy) we met on a really awesome date night."
Is the Opal Card actually cheaper for UNSW students? For the 891 and 895 bus, it costs $1.52 one way using a MyBus2 Travel10 in contrast to $1.75 using a Concession Opal Card. The overall opinion continues to be divided on whether the Concession Opal Card is best value for UNSW students as it depends also on the other public transport journeys taken throughout the week.
UNSW Bus Petition for Tap On Only for 891 UNSW & 895 Central Buses at the Bus Stop
UNSW Opal Card Savings Society
Transport NSW Bus Fares
Opal Card Bus Fares
UNIVERSITY of NSW students will take part in a National Day of Action on Wednesday in response to the Federal Government’s budget and what they call “the worst attacks on students in decades”. - Daily Telegraph/The Southern Courier (Thomas Cho May 23, 2014)
My photographs published in The Daily Telegraph.
In what could only be described as the best day of his life, Australia’s Treasurer Joe Hockey celebrated the deregulation, funding cuts and fee increases for universities with song and dance whilst students struggle to make ends meet with growing debt. With the announcement
of the Australian Budget for 2014-15, the Federal Government has declared that the ‘age of entitlement’ has been replaced with a new ‘age of opportunity’.
However with the recklessly high number of broken election promises the Federal government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott has in fact reduced opportunities for many prospective and current universities to attain their tertiary qualifications. The Liberal party’s changes to the tertiary education sector includes ripping funding from universities, increasing tuition fees through giving the green light for deregulation on the supposed basis of capitalist competition as well as adding additional fees to government student loans.
A Student Representative Council and Education Collective spokesperson from the University of New South Wales, one of the Australia’s leading tertiary education institutions stated that:
“the Government is likely to introduce a 10% loan fee for all HECS debts, handing another $1000 per year onto your average law, economics, commerce, or accounting degree. And there’s more. The government has even suggested that they will scrap the enrolment target for students from low socio-economic backgrounds.”
By 2016, it is expected that most university degrees in Australia will cost from $100,000 to $200,000. Paying in excess of $30,000 a year in student tuition fees would become the normative according to academics who cite Joe Hockey’s budget and the deregulation of the university system as the principle causes of increasing student fees and subsequent debt. The result of these changes to a model ever more so leaning towards the United States’ college system will be of a major concern “for people… living in a lower economic area with a single income”. In essence the Liberal government has given most students degrees of hip-pocket pain with rising tuition fees instead of easing the burden of university education costs.
In response to the changes announced in Liberal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s Federal Budget, university students across Australia have stepped up their national campaign in protest of the Abbott government’s decisions to deregulate the system and cut funding from tertiary education. Rallies denouncing the Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the University of New South Wales Vice-Chancellor Frederick G Hilme support of university deregulation took place with students and staff across multiple disciplines of academia mourning the “death of our education” system.
Hundreds of students at the University of New South Wales marched from the steps of the main library, a symbolic representation of academia to the doors of the chancellery building in a mock funeral procession grieving from the destruction of a relatively fair and supportive tertiary education system. Billy Bruffey, leader of the Hands off our Education/Death of our Education Rally at the University of New South Wales commented that:
“Today’s rally is a pretty clear message to both our Vice-Chancellor and Prime Minister that students will not stand by and let fee deregulation become a reality in Australia."
Protesters today have demanded a fair and affordable public university system and refuted right-wing rhetoric that young people should bear the brunt of budget austerity.” Students across Sydney and Australia plan to continue in their demonstrations against the government’s deregulation, funding cuts and fee increases to universities with petitions, rallies and
campaigns in capital cities in the coming weeks.
On a journey of discovery