By NSW Premier Mike Baird @MikeBairdMP
Since we began rolling out the Opal electronic ticketing system across our public transport system I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who are reporting how convenient it is, and how much they love it.
The next step in delivering the world class ‘tap and go’ system will take place in January next year, when the majority of paper tickets are phased out.
Since the rollout of Opal began in December 2012 there have been 3.3 million cards issued, and 350 million bus, train and ferry journeys taken, and given its enormous success it’s time to stop running two ticketing systems.
It’s the right time to take this next step with big drops in sales of most paper tickets available – sales of the once popular MyBus Travel Ten have dropped by more than 75 per cent over the past 12 months alone as people switch to Opal.
From 1 January 2016, commuters will only be able to purchase adult and concession single or return tickets for trains, ferries, light rail plus singles for buses. That means we’re giving the public five months to prepare for the transition and I would encourage everyone to get in early – particularly pensioners and seniors – and order their Opal card today from opal.com.au or by calling 13 67 25 (13 OPAL) to have it mailed to their home.
In other news, there was more positive news for the state’s job market this week.
The latest ABS data shows NSW remains the nation’s strongest economy and leads the country in terms of jobs growth. The data shows there were 29,500 jobs added across NSW last month – more than four times the next highest state.
I’m proud to say we now have the nation’s lowest unemployment rate – and it has been at or below the national average for 21-straight months. The result is a clear sign that the decisions we are making to rebuild the state, and deliver the infrastructure this city needs, is creating jobs on the ground and strengthening our economy.
I will visit Wellington and Auckland later this month as part of my first official visit to New Zealand as Premier.
We have strong cultural, diplomatic and business links with New Zealand and I’ll be meeting with Prime Minister John Key to discuss ideas on how we can work together to grow our economies.
Mr Key is interested in how we are delivering our infrastructure vision as his Government looks at its own plans for future growth, and conversely, we know the New Zealand Government is excelling in the area of customer service delivery so I want to see if we could learn from their experiences.
The inaugural CEO of the G20 Global Infrastructure Hub, Chris Heathcote, will be joining me to discuss opportunities for NSW and New Zealand to cooperate through the Hub, in a meeting with representatives from the New Zealand Government.
Finally, we marked 100 years since the Battle of Lone Pine, one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War. I attended a commemorative ceremony at the War Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park with one hundred school students who travelled to Gallipoli this year and represented NSW at this year’s Centenary of Anzac dawn service. These students inspired me and reminded me how important it is for our younger generations to learn about our war history and keep the Anzac legacy alive.
Time To Tap Into Opal : Most Paper Tickets To Be Phased Out