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New data shows that “Opal runners” are still actively seeking public transport savings.
There are only three weeks left until the rules for using the Opal public transport smartcard in Sydney change, and you’ll no longer be entitled to the free trips “travel reward” after making eight journeys. I commemorated that change earlier this year with the Ultimate Opal Hack, travelling thousands of kilometres for free. Now new data shows that Sydney’s die-hard community of “Opal hackers” and “Opal runners” still haven’t given up.
Earlier this year, the NSW Government tightened the rules around Opal, closing a loophole that let people easily run up multiple trips by tapping on repeatedly at light rail stops, or between nearby railway stations. While those changes have had some impact, they haven’t stopped the practice entirely.
The number of short trips taken to Pyrmont Bay fell from 63,636 in the five weeks ending March 6 to 11,935 in the five weeks to the end of July, Fairfax reports. That’s a big reduction, but there are still thousands of journeys each week that are likely to be attempts at fare reduction. (We can’t dismiss the possibility that some lazy people simply would prefer to travel for one stop rather than walk.)