Getting Around Sydney - Your Guide To Public Transport in Sydney
Sydney, located in New South Wales, is a major metropolitan city with over 32 million tourists visiting each year. In 2015-16, net overseas migration (NOM) reflected an annual gain of 182,165 persons relocating to Sydney, so as you can imagine, it is a busy place!
There are many ways to get around Sydney and the public transport system have a good reputation of being reliable and on time. One thing you should be aware of before you arrive in Sydney, is that the transport system can be complex and if you don’t know how to use it effectively, then you could end up paying extra to get around the city.
The best thing you can do upon arriving in Sydney is purchase an Opal card. This is the smart card for Sydney travel and it will make it easier for you when you are travelling around the city and the surrounding areas. When you land in Sydney airport, you can purchase an Opal card there, or you can also pick it up at Central Railway Station. If you are extra prepared, you can even purchase the Opal card online in advance. In doing so you will save yourself time and worry. However, you must order your card three to four weeks in advance as there is a long waiting time for delivery. Although you can purchase a visitor opal pass from any of the retailers here http://www.retailers.opal.com.au
The four types of Opal cards that are available are:
- - Black cards for people over 16
- - Green cards for children (4 to 15 years)
- - Silver cards for job seekers and tertiary students
- - Gold cards for senior and pensioner card holders
There is also a School Opal card available. This type of Opal card can be used for travel on buses, trains and ferries when going to and from school. This card allows free travel from school to home during specific times.
When topping-up your Opal card, you can easily do so at various train stations across Sydney, as well as using online top-up, or you can even top-up at newsagents and cafes. The general minimum top-up amount for the Opal card is $10.00, but the minimum top-up online is $40.00, so bear this in mind. Normally, the general daily spend on the Opal card is $15.00 per day or $60.00 per week. For children, under four year olds travel for free and for a child between the age of 4 and 15 it will cost a child’s fare, which starts at $1.69. The daily average for children is $7.50 and it is $30.00 per week. For pensioners, the fare is $2.50 for the day no matter how much you travel throughout one day, you just need to obtain a valid pensioner or senior card.
The Opal card comes with the peace of mind of knowing that you can use it on just about every public travel service to get around Sydney; including train, bus, and ferry. As well as using your Opal card in the regular tap-on and tap-off system, you can also conveniently purchase single trip tickets through your Opal card to use on all transport services, however, these are unavailable as return trips. Single trip tickets can be picked up at most train stations.
In addition to the Opal card in Sydney, there is also the MyMulti ticket system, however this can work out more expensive than the Opal card. With the MyMulti ticket, a daily charge will cost you $23 in comparison to the Opal which costs $15.00 ($8.00 less).
One thing to be aware of with Sydney buses, is that you are best off having your Opal card topped up because the Sydney Bus Service is a strictly pre-pay service between the hours of 7.00am and 7.00pm. If you don’t have an Opal card, you can get a ticket at a 7/11 store, which are located all over Australia. The bus service in Sydney is reliable and frequent, with inner-city buses stopping every 5 to 15 minutes. Suburbs on the outskirts of Sydney offer a less frequent bus service, and unfortunately you may be required to wait for up to an hour between bus services.
If you are going out at night, a bus is your best option, as most of Sydney’s trains stop running between midnight and 4.30am. The NightRide bus service replaces Sydney Trains and these buses depart from various locations throughout the city and they cover the greater Sydney network.
The rail system in Sydney is well sprawled out and offers many different lines to various parts of the city and its suburbs. There are regular train services from all of the main inner city stations and the best way to understand the rail system is by looking at the rail map and knowing what line you need to go on. For Opal card users, it is a simple tap-on and tap-off system at the train station.
In Sydney, you also have the luxury of getting around by Ferry, a unique feature of this wonderful city. The Sydney Ferry Service offer many services from Circular Quay. The Sydney Ferry Service carries more than 14 million people on its decks each year. You can enjoy the elegant views of Sydney harbour with just a touch of your Opal card. The only misfortune is that you can’t get to Bondi by ferry.
Sydney’s Light Rail System:
The latest transport element of Sydney is the Sydney Tram or Light Rail service. The Inner West Light Rail is now operating and it transports more than 8.4 million passengers each year. This Light Rail line operates as the L1 Dulwich Hill Line and is a 12.7km route which connects Dulwich Hill to Central Station.
The latest extension of the Light Rail system is the CBD and South East Light Rail. This transport system is expected to take its first passengers in 2019 and it will be a 12km route, featuring 19 stops. It is expected to extend from Circular Quay along George Street to Central Station, through Surry Hills to Moore Park, then onto Kensington and Kingsford, and then onto High Street.
If you are still confused on how to get to your destination you can use the transport app https://transportnsw.info/#/ it will tell you what train, bus, ferry to catch etc.