Skip to main content

How Opal fares are calculated

Opal card fares are calculated according to the distance that you have travelled, from where you tap on to where you tap off.

Each mode of transport is divided into distance-based fare bands.

The fares in each fare band vary according to whether you are travelling on Adult fares, Child/Youth fares, Concession fares or Senior/Pensioner fares.

When you tap off, how far you have travelled is matched to a fare band and your Opal card type. The fare is automatically deducted from your Opal card.

Opal single tickets can also be purchased for each fare band. Select your destination on the ticket machine or inform the driver of your destination and you will be provided with the correct ticket.

Your Opal fare will match the distance of track travelled between the station you tap on at and the station where you tap off.

For train travel in or out of the Sydney CBD on services that go via Wynyard, Kings Cross or Central stations, the distance of 3.21km is charged and added to your total trip distance.

In some cases, where there are multiple ways to travel between two stations, the shortest track distance may not always be used to calculate the fare.

You can use the Trip Planner or Opal Travel app to plan your trip and get the approximate fare. When you use a single trip ticket machine, the correct fare is also shown.

Peak and off-peak times

When using an Opal card on the train, you receive a 30 per cent fare discount when travelling on weekends, public holidays and outside of the peak times below. Your fare is calculated based on the time you tap on. During the week, morning peak travel times can vary for some Intercity stations, depending on which station you tap on at. Look up your station to check peak times.

Days of the week Sydney trains peak times Intercity trains peak times
Monday to Friday

7am - 9am

4pm - 6.30pm

6am - 8am

4pm - 6.30pm

Sydney airport fares

When travelling to the airport train stations, the Sydney Airport station access fee is added on to the cost of your fare.

For bus and ferry fares, you will be charged based on the straight line distance between where you tap on and tap off.

Automatic location technology is used on buses and ferries to enable the calculation of the straight line distances.

    Opal cards Opal single trip ticket Opal single bus ticket OpalPay Contactless payments
What do I need to do? Tap on and off Opal readers

Buy from Opal ticket machines

Tap on and off Opal readers

Buy on board selected bus services Tap on the operator's payment device only Tap on and off with American Express, Mastercard or Visa on Sydney Ferries and light rail Opal readers
Adult fares Yes Different to standard Opal fares Different to standard Opal fares Different to standard Opal fares. Please check with the operator Same price as an Adult Opal single trip ticket
Child/Youth fares Yes Different to standard Opal fares Different to standard Opal fares Different to standard Opal fares. Please check with the operator No
Concession and senior/pensioner fares Yes No No Selected services only. Different to standard Opal fares. Please check with the operator

Gold or Concession Opal cards accepted but you may be charged the full fare. Check with operators
No
Standard Opal fares Yes No No No Yes
Weekly Travel Rewards Yes No No No No
Travel Caps (including Sunday $2.70 and other caps) Yes No No No No
Transfer Discounts Yes No No No No
Trip Advantage Yes No No No No
Transport Park&Ride Yes No No No No
Private operator travel discounts or benefit schemes Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable No Not applicable

Please note: Different terms and conditions apply to non-reloadable Opal cards including School Opal cards and free travel Opal cards which are for eligible customers only. Find out more.

When using your Opal card, fares are charged depending on the distance of your trip or overall journey, and transfers you make along the way.

A trip is travel on one route, on one mode. When you transfer to another route or service, you are commencing a new trip.

A journey consists of one or more trips on eligible services where transfers between services occur within 60 minutes*.

A transfer occurs at the end of a single trip. It is a change of transport mode or route, to another service or route, to continue a journey. Transfers made within a standard transfer time of 60 minutes combine trips into a single journey.

The 60 minute transfer time applies to all services except the Sydney Ferries Manly ferry service where the standard transfer time is 130 minutes from tap on.

There is a limited amount of time you can spend on a single journey when travelling on public transport in the Opal network. The maximum journey time is the maximum time allowed between a tap on and a tap off. The maximum journey time varies between modes and locations.

If you tap off after the maximum journey time, then the previous tap on will be treated as an incomplete journey. If this happens at train stations or wharves with gates, you will end up being charged two default fares:

  • one for the incomplete journey that exceeded the maximum journey time and
  • again for the subsequent tap off which is classed as an unstarted journey by the Opal system

If this happens at an ungated site, such as light rail stops, most wharves and many train stations, customers could be charged two default fares:

  • One for the incomplete journey that exceeded the maximum journey time. At the ungated site, the Opal reader will check and identify an incomplete journey.
  • The next tap on will be seen as a new journey. This tap on can be reversed. If it is not then a second default fare could be charged.

Trains

Journey type Criteria Maximum journey time
Suburban

Train journeys taken using Sydney Trains.

Examples:

  • Penrith to Chatswood
  • Campbelltown to Berowra
  • Newtown to Bondi Junction
5 hours
Outer metropolitan

Train journeys within outer metropolitan areas of Greater Sydney operated by NSW TrainLink trains which do not cross into or depart from the area covered by Sydney Trains.

Examples:

  • Gosford to Wyoming
  • Nowra to Wollongong
  • Bathurst to Lithgow
  • Goulburn to Moss Vale
5 hours
Intercity / Commuter services

Train journeys that make one crossing into or out of the area covered by Sydney Trains are provided with one extra hour.

Any Sydney Trains or Intercity NSW TrainLink service through any of the following stations: Emu Plains, Macarthur, Waterfall and Berowra.

Examples:

  • Newcastle to Central
  • Central to Lithgow
6 hours
Exceptions for very long train journeys

Rules

  • Must enter and exit the area covered by Sydney Trains as part of the journey.
  • The train journey needs to pass through any two of the following stations: Emu Plains, Macarthur, Waterfall or Berowra.

Type 1: Most long train journeys are provided with two extra hours (e.g. Wollongong to Newcastle or Moss Vale to Katoomba)

Type 2: Train journeys greater than 350km (e.g. Scone to Bathurst or Goulburn to Dungog)

7 hours (Type 1)

16 hours (Type 2)

 

Bus

Journey type Maximum journey time

For buses a maximum journey time applies to any bus trip that includes an implied transfer.

An implied transfer is only applicable to bus and is designed to ensure that you will bot be out of pocket in the following situations:

  • The bus route ends in a 'loop' and you remain on board to reach your destination
  • A driver crew change occurs part way through the trip along the bus route
  • The driver start the new bus trip early (before you tap off)
  • The driver starts the new bus trip late (after you tap on)

In these situations, the bus fare will be calculated as normal.

For any other trips, the only rule applied is that you tap on and off the same bus.

4 hours

 

Light rail

Journey type Maximum journey time
All light rail services 3 hours

 

Ferry

Journey type Criteria Maximum journey time
Journey requiring transfer at Circular Quay Any ferry journey that involves a transfer (1 only) at Circular Quay 4 hours
Here-to-here wharf Tap off at the same wharf where last tap on occurred 3 hours
Gated wharf to gated wharf
  • Circular Quay - Darling Harbour Wharf
  • Darling Harbour Wharf - Circular Quay
  • Circular Quay - Circular Quay
  • Darling Harbour Wharf - Darling Harbour Wharf

Note: Excludes Manly Wharf

1 hour
Same ferry route/service

All services that do not meet any of the above criteria

Note: All services west of the Harbour Bridge (river services) are treated as the same route (i.e. tap off / on is not required at stop over whard)

3 hours

 

When calculating fares, including weekly and daily travel caps, the Opal day starts at 4.00am on that day and ends at 3.59am the following day.

The Opal week starts on a Monday at 4.00am and ends the following Monday at 3:59am.

More information