Introducing the School Opal card

The School Opal card gives eligible school students free travel on public transport between home and school on trains, buses and ferries within the Opal network.

The School Opal card replaces the old paper School Student Transport Scheme (SSTS) travel passes.

Who can apply?

Students need to live a minimum distance from their school to be eligible for a School Opal card, as follows:

Years K-2 (Infants)
There’s no minimum distance.

Years 3-6 (Primary)
1.6km straight line distance or 2.3km walking or further.

Years 7-12 (Secondary)
2.0km straight line distance or 2.9km walking or further.

Who needs to apply?

Many students will receive a School Opal card automatically. It will be sent to their school at the start of the 2016 school year.

However you will need to apply if:

  •   applying for an school travel pass for the first time
  •   enrolling in Kindergarten
  •   progressing from Year 2 to Year 3
  •   progressing from Year 6 to Year 7
  •   changing name, school and/or address
  •   requesting an additional pass as a result of a new shared parental responsibility situation.

Applications must be made by a parent or legal guardian if you are less than 16 years of age. If you are 16 years or older you need to complete and sign the application form yourself. Applications are subject to eligibility criteria. For full details visit

How to apply

Step 1

Complete the School Opal card application form here

Step 2

Print, sign and date the completed form and submit it to your school for endorsement

Step 3

Your school sends the endorsed application to Transport for NSW. Once approved, the School Opal card will be sent to the home address you provided in the application

Better together

The School Opal card is only for travel to and from school on school days and doesn’t cover travel to after school care, school excursions, sport and other activities away from school, so it’s a good idea to get a Child/Youth Opal card for personal travel.

Child/Youth Opal card benefits for kids (and parents)

Here’s a quick show and tell:

  •  Travel on trains, ferries, buses and light rail with one ticket
  •  Never pay more than $7.50* per day Monday to Saturday
  •  Never pay more than $2.50* on Sundays
  •  After eight paid journeys you travel free* with Opal thanks to the Weekly Travel Reward

*Excluding Sydney Airport station access fee  



For more information go to School Bus Service.

Member for Heathcote Lee Evans and Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian announce Opal is set to go-live on 200 local buses

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today joined Member for Heathcote Lee Evans at Austinmer to announce Opal electronic ticketing will go live for customers on all 200 local buses on Monday 3 November.
The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is getting on with the job of delivering modern and convenient public transport, with Opal now live on all suburban and intercity trains, all Sydney Ferries and more than 4,300 buses.
Ms Berejiklian said she was pleased that from next month Illawarra bus customers will be able to access cheaper fares and more convenient travel, with electronic ticketing on 200 buses across 30 routes from Stanwell Park to Shellharbour.
“The latest rollout of Opal will cover buses which serve thousands of customers in communities across 90 Illawarra suburbs,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“After waiting 16 years for Labor’s failed attempts to deliver electronic ticketing, we’re finally catching up with the rest of the world.
“The people of NSW are embracing Opal and taking advantage of cheaper, easier and more convenient travel with more than 1.1 million Opal cards now issued to public transport customers.
“These customers are also taking advantage of free travel, with more than 13 million free trips taken by customers thanks to Opal’s free weekly travel rewards. After eight paid journeys, Opal customers get free unlimited travel on trains, buses and ferries.”
From Monday 3 November, customers using 170 Premier Illawarra buses across 24 routes in Bellambi, Corrimal, Fairy Meadow, Wollongong, Port Kembla, Unanderra, Dapto, Albion Park and Shellharbour can tap on and tap off with an Opal card.
Greens and Dions buses will also go live, transporting customers across 15 suburbs on 30 buses including Austinmer, Bulli, Stanwell Park, Thirroul, Coledale, Russell Vale and Woonona areas.
Mr Evans said Illawarra train customers have been using Opal on South Coast Line intercity services since April this year and this rollout on buses will make travel seamless.
“Labor left public transport in a mess and this Government has been working hard to turn things around,” he said.
“As well as delivering electronic ticketing, since March 2011 the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has introduced more than 10,500 extra train, bus and ferry services right across the state, including here in the Illawarra.
“We’re also upgrading stations, providing more parking, improving customer service and technology, and investing $2.8 billion in a new state-of-the-art intercity train fleet for customers travelling longer distances from the South Coast.”
Mr Evans said customers can get their Opal card at a local retailer or have it sent to their home by ordering a card on the Opal website or calling Opal on 13 67 25.
“We’re talking to newsagencies and corner stores throughout the region to encourage them to come on board as Opal retailers, with numbers growing all the time. Opal top-up machines at stations will be available later in the rollout,” he said.
“Adult and Child Opal cards are now available and we will be releasing the Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card before the end of the year. It’s important that pensioners and seniors remember they can keep buying and using their paper Pensioner Excursion Ticket (PET) even after the Gold Opal card is released, and well into the future.”

Bus customers can access a range of benefits with an Opal card:
    •    Cheaper adult single bus fares - between two and nine per cent compared to MyBus paper tickets.
    •    Opal Weekly Travel Reward, earned after 8 paid journeys, makes it cheaper than a TravelTen for customers travelling to and from work Monday to Friday.
    •    Convenient customer-friendly bus-to-bus transfer fare system - if you transfer within 60 minutes you’re only charged one fare for the journey.
    •    Never queue for a ticket again

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today announced that seniors and pensioners can from Monday November 3 order their own Gold Opal card if they choose to, and pay no more than $2.50 a day to use public transport.

The launch of the brand new Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card marks another major milestone in the Opal rollout, and will make a huge difference for seniors and pensioners when it comes to paying for and using public transport, Ms Berejiklian said.

Seniors and pensioners can still buy and use their paper Pensioner Excursion Tickets (PET) if they don’t want to use the Gold Opal card.

“The new Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card means eligible customers won’t pay more than $2.50 a day for travel on trains, buses, Sydney Ferries and light rail when it is rolled out,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“From Monday November 3, seniors and pensioners can access all the benefits of the Opal card – including the convenience of never having to queue for a paper ticket again. Gold Opal customers can use cash to top up their card with as little as $2.50.

“Already more than 1.1 million Adult and Child/Youth Opal cards have been issued, and this number continues to grow as more customers realise the benefits of Opal.”

Ms Berejiklian said it was important that eligible seniors and pensioners understood that they can still choose to buy a paper Pensioner Excursion Ticket (PET) after the Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card is introduced on Monday November 3.

“Seniors and pensioners do not have to use the Gold Opal card if they don’t want to, but it offers the same $2.50 daily cap, and is much more convenient,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Let me assure everyone that the Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card is not compulsory, and rest assured that the paper Pensioner Excursion Ticket will continue to be available on Monday November 3, and well into the future.

“We know there are some customers who will want to take their time to learn about Opal before they choose to use it. That is completely understandable and we want people to have that choice.”

The Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card is available for NSW Seniors, Pensioner Concession card holders and NSW War Widows. Customers only need to get the Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card once, and the card itself will not cost anything.

To order a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card customers can call 13 67 25 (13 OPAL) or visit the Opal website at – it takes only minutes to apply, and then it takes about one week for the card to be mailed out to the customer’s home.

Ms Berejiklian said Opal information kiosks will be located at major shopping centres and some CBD train stations in coming weeks to assist those wanting a card.

Seniors and pensioners can choose to simply link their Opal card to their credit or debit card and set it to auto top up, like having an e-tag in your pocket.

They can also choose to manually top up the Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal with cash if they want to. More than 1,400 Opal retail stores can be found via an easy-to-use map at or by calling the Opal Customer Care line.

Customers can also check their balance and top up by calling 13 67 25 (13 OPAL) or online at The minimum top up online or over the phone is $10. Machines at stations will also be part of the Opal rollout.

Minister for Ageing John Ajaka said the NSW Government had worked tirelessly with the community to ensure all eligible customers would be well informed about the Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card and its many advantages.

“We have been working with the community to ensure the rollout of electronic ticketing is easy to understand and simple to use for customers,” Mr Ajaka said.

“It is important that anyone who wants to know more about the Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card, should call the Opal Customer Care line, or visit the helpful Opal website.

“I’m really pleased that a fare cap of $2.50 for everyone with a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card makes public transport even more attractive.”

Opal can now be used on all suburban and intercity trains, all Sydney Ferries and more than 4,300 buses, with all buses Opal activated by the end of the year and light rail in early 2015.

As part of the marketing campaign for the Opal rollout, new how-to-use Opal videos are also being released at from today, and in coming months.

The benefits of the Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card include:

  • Fares are capped at no more than $2.50 a day
  • Customers can spend even less than $2.50 on many journeys with Opal
  • Never visit a shop or ticket office again to buy a paper ticket
  • No more fumbling for coins and rushing as your train or bus is approaching
  • Top up the card’s value with a minimum $2.50 cash at one of more than 1,400 Opal retailers
  • A customer doesn’t have to worry if they lose their card – simply cancel the card and their balance will be transferred to a new card and mailed out to them
  • Set the Opal card to auto top up, just like having an e-tag in your pocket
  • Customers who travel more than 8 paid journeys in a week will get free trips after that for the rest of the week, like any other Opal customer.

Click here to download Gold Senior Pensioner Opal card Fact Sheet

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