Buying paper tickets for public transport is more and more becoming a thing of the past. Myki, Opal and Go Card are replacing (and have already replaced, in some areas) the paper tickets making travel easier and swifter. These “smartcards” were thought to make people’s commute easier and cheaper but many Australians are still not convinced about their cost efficiency.
Granted, the discounts are varied through the day and on weekends as well, making people more confused and frustrated. Before people just bought a monthly ticket or a weekly ticket and they seemed to be cheaper but with the smartcards and the top-up systems, people are rethinking how to save on public transport.
How to Save on Public Transport
If you live in Brisbane, you can easily save 20% of the fare if you take public transport after 8.30am. That could potentially save you almost $300 over one year with Go Cards. If you live in Sydney, it’s better to travel off-peak which saves you 30% of the normal fare. So as long as you get on the train before 7am and after 6.30pm, you’ll be saving money on public transport with your Opal Card. With Myki in Melbourne, your daily fares are capped to the price of two 2-hour tickets, no matter what time you travel. But if you buy one after 6pm, you can travel all night without paying any more.
Weekends are the best to save money on public transport. Melbourne, Sydney and Emerald City in Queensland all let you travel cheap, especially on Sunday when it’s $2.50 for the entire day more often than not.
There are also free travel options at the end of the week for Opal Card holders and Go Card holders. Sydneysiders can enjoy free travel after eight trips whereas Queenslanders enjoy the same benefits after nine trips, which still helps you save if you travel a lot throughout the week. However, the trick to getting eight or nine trips quickly is to take short bus trips or train trips and keeping them apart for at least an hour and a half after one another. For example, if you get off a bus and then get onto another bus or a train without enough time gap, they’ll only count as one trip with a transfer; basically a continuation of your first travel option. So make sure there’s a gap!
The best saver in Melbourne, which still doesn’t exist in either Sydney or Brisbane, is the option to travel completely free for early birds. If you take the train and alight before 7am, it’s completely free! Also in the Melbourne CBD, trams are free every day with your Myki card so Melburnians get the best deals when it comes to public transport fees.
Nevertheless, some paper tickets that are still being sold could be a cheaper alternative to the smartcards if one can’t keep up with all the discount hours. But these tickets may soon be eradicated next year or the very near future, leaving people to buy only cards from then on. The main thing is not to forget your card when you go out. There’s security in place for the cards; if you ever lose the card or if it gets stolen, you can lock it until you get it replaced and transfer the credit over to the new card. But beware, if you do it too much, you’ll end up with a stack of useless cards.