Every time I’ve been to Sydney, I am reminded how much of a dog’s breakfast the public transport ticketing is there. Some of the many problems include the most confusing zones that I’ve ever seen (and I have travelled on a considerable number of public transport systems), the fact that train and bus zones aren’t even consistent with one another; and that there isn’t an integrated ticketing system for all modes of transport (the light rail, the monorail and certain buses out to the west only accept their own tickets). Even the one ticket that will get you around the city for an entire day is about 50%25 more expensive than the equivalent ticket in Melbourne – it’s aimed at ripping off tourists, rather than making life easy for regular commuters – and it still won’t let you on the light rail.
Successive NSW governments have done nothing about this, despite the other major Australian capital cities having shown how it can be done properly; Melbourne has had a fully multimodal ticketing system since 1981 – the one ticket will let you travel on buses, trains and trams, within the metropolitan system. Even Brisbane, after a long period of having disjoint rail and bus tickets, has now mostly got its act into gear. Adelaide, while having one of the most botched railway systems around – not electrified, and unlikely to be any time soon – still makes it easy for commuters to change modes of transport with just one ticket. And Perth is light-years ahead of everyone, with a functioning smart card system (while Melbourne and Sydney plunge hundreds of millions of dollars into re-inventing the wheel).
Well, it appears that Sydney’s system is to get even worse. According to a report in the Herald, the new T-card system, should it ever see the light of day, might be dumping periodical tickets, such as weeklies, and relying instead on distance based fares. Hardly a good move for a city choked with traffic and desperately needing to get more people onto public transport.