When it comes to public transportation in Sydney, I’m happy to say that the Opal system is better than Melbourne’s Myki system. Or maybe I’m just used to their nonsense now? Yeah, that’s what it is, I’m used to it. Anywho, you need one of these if you’re gonna hop on:
It’s important to know that it’s nigh on impossible to show up with cash and be able to pay for your ride. There are literally buses that say “prepay only” in the front-scrolly-part that tells you the bus number and where it’s going, and that is an entirely new concept to me. You cannot pay on the train itself, ever. You tap your Opal card at the gates as you enter and exit your station of choice. The fare system is confusing as all heck and the Opal site has way too much info to wade through without ever actually giving you anything useful or helpful. So yes, I guess I’m just used to it, because that’s what really grinds my gears about Melbourne. Central Station is pretty though, right?
So if you can’t pay cash, how do you pay? In order to “top up” or add value, you wanna go to the Opal kiosks in the train stations, or at 7-Elevens. So far I’ve found that you can only add money in $10 AUD increments, which means I HAVE FOURTEEN OF MY HARD EARNED DOLLARS STUCK ON A CARD I WON’T USE FOR YEARS. Gross.
How much is an opal card? Excellent question, my friend. I can’t figure out how much the card itself costs because I sh*t you not, there is every piece of information listed except for how much the card is, including what to do if you’re an “interstate senior”. Oooooooookay.
I got hooked up; one of the awesome hostel receptionists gave that card to me. In Melbourne, a Myki card costs $6 AUD. I can’t imagine it being any cheaper in Sydney. Correction: thank the Google Gods cause I found out it’s $10 AUD for an adult card. Jeez Louise!
The positives are many. I’m constantly in awe of how clean Sydney is as Australia’s biggest city (almost five million people!). The buses and trains are in good repair and appear to have the massive city well-serviced and covered.
You’ll have yourself a quiet, comfortable ride. Stations are well marked, and the train itself is very clear about where you’re going and where you are. It’s very user friendly once you’re on.
I found a couple crispy trains; maybe those go through the hood? I heard they have those here. I haven’t seen one yet, though. Also. Sydney has giant flying cockroaches. You might see them in the gutters at night. I would never take pictures of them nor post any here because I don’t like to inflict emotional trauma on myself. Just know that they are there and you might see some and they’re just as skin-crawly as you would imagine.
Overall, even with it’s idiosyncrasies, the transportation system in Sydney is one of the best I’ve seen in my travels so far, and is a sign of how prosperous Australian society is. I would gladly tolerate the silly payment system for the ride quality!