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Fare compliance

It is an offence to travel on public transport in NSW without being in possession of a valid ticket so it is important that you plan ahead.

Fare evasion cost the NSW Government $80 million in 2015 and is unfair for the majority of passengers who pay the correct fare when using public transport. It means there is less money for us to spend on extra services and new infrastructure.

Authorised revenue protection officers and NSW Police officers are responsible for ensuring ticketing compliance and patrolling public transport. They have the right to ask to see your ticket and concession entitlement at any time and carry Opal card readers to check your balance, recent transaction history and the card type (e.g. Adult, Senior/Pensioner, Concession or Child/Youth). Depending on the circumstances, they have the authority to issue an official caution. While this does not require the payment of a penalty notice, your details will be recorded and a penalty notice may be issued if you are found to be committing a similar offence in the future.

If you are caught travelling without a valid ticket, not paying the correct fare or travel using a concession ticket without being in possession of your concession entitlement, you may be issued with a fine of $200 (Maximum $550).

Official cautions and penalty notices are either sent by mail to your residential address, or issued on the spot.

Tickets are not available on PrePay buses or at some train stations, ferry wharves and light rail stops. In these cases, you must have an Opal card with enough balance before you travel.

It can take time for your balance to update when you have topped up on the Opal website or the Opal Travel app. It is your responsibility to have sufficient balance on your Opal card at the time of travel.

If you are travelling on any kind of concession ticket, you must be entitled to travel on this ticket and carry your proof of entitlement card with you at all times.

It is your responsibility to have the right ticket for your trip. and you must ensure you have a valid ticket that covers the length of your entire journey.

Tickets are easy to buy and ticketing information is freely available. It is not a reasonable excuse to say:

  • "I was running late"
  • "I didn’t know the fare"
  • "I didn’t know what kind of ticket to buy"
  • "I left my concession card at home"
  • "I’ve lost my ticket"
  • "I thought I tapped on"
  • "I forgot to tap on"
  • "I didn’t realise my balance was so low"
  • "I topped up my card just before I tapped on"
  • "I couldn’t get a ticket or top up at the station"

You must always tap on at the start and tap off at the end of each trip with your Opal card or when you are using a Opal single trip tickets on trains, ferries and light rail.

Your Opal card or single trip ticket is only valid once you have tapped on.

Even when you have reached your Opal card Weekly Travel Reward, you must tap on and tap off for every trip.

Exceptions

There is no need to tap on or off Opal single bus tickets.

The other exception is on Sydney Ferry services travelling to and from Manly, where you are only required to tap on. You do not need to tap off as there is only one destination on that service. The fare is automatically calculated and deducted when you tap on.

Each customer travelling must each have their own valid Opal card or Opal single trip ticket to travel.

If you have been fined, you will receive a penalty notice either on the spot or in the mail within 7–10 days. Payment can be made to the State Debt Recovery Office by mail, phone or online.

If you wish to dispute the penalty notice, you have the option of writing a letter to the State Debt Recovery Office or elect to have the matter dealt with by a court.

Visit the State Debt Recovery Office website for further information on the penalty notice review process. Less than 4% of reviews result in the fine being overturned.

For further information about the correct ticket, refer to the tickets and Opal page for the mode you wish you travel on.