Costly Opal Card Errors

I enjoy using Sydney’s new Opal card, I enjoy not having to queue and remember to buy weekly and travel-10 tickets. I especially enjoy the free travel after 8 journeys, especially as it is generally saving me money.

What I’m not enjoying is continually encountering problems using the Opal card. At least once a week I’m encountering buses with readers that aren’t working. And it seems to be getting worse.

In the last two week’s I’ve experienced a bus that I was able to tap onto, but not tap off of – encountering the dreaded default fare. I’ve encountered a bus where the two back door readers weren’t working – sending me on a mad dash to the front of the bus to tap off before the bus drove off.

But the two most annoying issues this week have been overcharging. The first is a tap on and a tap off being recorded as two tap on, encountering two default fares.

Opal Double Charging

The second is being charged $4.70 for a fare from Town Hall to Central (instead of $3.30).

Opal Overcharging

And making the problems even more annoying, the complaint form on opal.com.au times out and loses the message you are sending if you take too long to fill it out.

I’m assuming that many others are experiencing these overcharging issues without even realising it.

Launch of Electric Trains in Auckland

This is why Auckland will never be a “World-Class” city

Jon C at AKT reports that the platforms at the new Onehunga train station will only be 55m in length, whereas the new electric trains will be 70m long.

KiwiRail says the platforms are of a shorter length because of “constraints on keeping the line away from nearby apartments”, electric trains could run to Onehunga but people would only be able to travel in the front two of the three car trains.

Not only is Auckland 100 years behind most of the developed world in getting an electric rail system (remember that Britomart is the only underground diesel railway station in the world!) we can’t even get the size of the platforms right. This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Meanwhile in Sydney next week sees the commencement of the 4th Metrobus route from Bondi to Chatswood with 80,000 people per week capacity. The Metrobus system in Sydney has been a great success with bus running so frequently they don’t need timetables. In Auckland there has been the Link bus for a number of years working on this system, but how about seeing it on routes like the Northern Express, Dominion Road (ARTA are launching the “B.Line” here), Great South Road, New North Road, Great North Road.

There is a reason why “Public Transport” in Auckland has been called an oxymoron and this stuff up in the length of the train platforms is yet another example of it.