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Frequently asked questions - School Opal card

 

1 Who is eligible for the School Opal card?

To be eligible for a School Opal card, students need to be NSW residents and may need to live a minimum distance away from their school:

  • 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.

Students completing secondary studies at TAFE, boarding school students and students temporarily in Australia may also be eligible for a School Opal card. The eligibility criteria for these students is available here

A School Opal card is provided to eligible students who need to travel within the Opal network. Paper travel passes are issued to eligible students who need to travel outside the Opal network.

 

2 Do students/parents need to apply for the School Opal card if they hold a current 2016 School Travel Pass?

Most students or parents/guardians won't need to apply for the School Opal card if they currently hold a 2016 School Travel Pass. The School Opal card will be sent to a student’s school automatically at the beginning of the new school year in 2017.

 

However, a new application is required if:

  • the student is just starting school or has not had a pass for travel before.
  • the student is progressing from Year 2 to 3, or Year 6 to 7.
  • the student needs to be able to travel to multiple home addresses because of a shared parental responsibility situation (e.g. joint custody)

If you’re applying for a new School Opal card complete this application form to update your details. 

 

 

If your details have changed, for example changing schools (other than moving from Years 2 to 3 or Years 6 to 7), your address or your name, then complete this application form to update your details.

 

Applications must be made by a parent or guardian for children aged 15 years and under. Applications must be made by the student if aged 16 years or older.

What's the application process for a School Opal card?

Step 1: Parents (or students aged 16 and over) complete the application form

Step 2: Print, sign and submit the form to the school for endorsement.

Step 3: The school will then forward the application to Transport for NSW for processing. Once approved, Transport for NSW sends the School Opal card to the home address given in the application.

The application may take several weeks. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application by email.

4  Will students/parents need to complete a different application for each type of transport service used for travel to and from school or TAFE?

Customers will only need to complete a single form for all travel on trains, buses and/or ferries within the Opal network.

5  Are there any alternatives to the School Opal card for ineligible students?

Students who are not eligible for a School Opal card may be eligible to purchase a term bus pass from Transport for NSW or they can get a Child/Youth Opal card from more than 2,100 retailers, online at opal.com.au or by calling 13 67 25 (13 OPAL).

6  Will I have to pay more for travel with a School Opal card?

No, travel to and from school or TAFE is still free for eligible students with the School Opal card.

7  Have the eligibility rules changed with the introduction of the School Opal card?

No, the eligibility rules haven't changed.

8  If a student's school and home is outside the Opal network, what pass can they use to get to school?

If you meet the eligibility criteria you'll continue to get a school travel pass for travel outside the Opal network.

9  What pass will a student receive if their school is within the Opal network, but home isn't? Or vice versa?

Eligible students who are required to travel both inside the Opal network and on services outside the Opal network, will receive both a School Opal card for travel within the Opal network, and a school travel pass for travel outside the Opal network.

10  What happens if you don't have School Opal card or school travel pass at the beginning of the school year?

A grace period is allowed at the start of the school year to enable sufficient time for students to be issued with their School Opal card or school travel pass.

 

To travel free during the grace period school students must be in school uniform or be able to provide evidence (such as a school ID or school books) to show they are travelling to or from school.

11  Will School Opal card holders need to reapply every year?

The School Opal card has been designed to last around five years. Parents, carers and students won't need to reapply every year as long they remain eligible. Transport for NSW will verify that students are still eligible with schools on a regular basis.

 

If you travelled on the Opal network in 2016, and you are not starting in Year 3 or 7, you don’t need to apply for a School Opal card. You’ll automatically receive a School Opal card at your school at the beginning of the school year.

 

However, a new application is required if you are:

 

  • just starting school or have not had a pass for travel before.  
  • progressing from Year 2 to 3, or Year 6 to 7.

If you’re applying for a new application complete this application form

 

If your details have changed, for example changing schools (other than moving from Years 2 to 3 or Years 6 to 7), your address or your name, then complete this application form to update your details.

 

Find out more information here

12  Are School Opal cards transferable?

No, School Opal cards are not transferable and fines may apply for misuse. Each School Opal card is issued to a specific student and has their name printed on the card.

13  Are secondary students who study at TAFE or a secondary college eligible for the School Opal card?

Yes, any student who is undertaking secondary studies can travel with a School Opal card. TAFE and secondary college students will need to carry a Senior Secondary Student Concession Card. These concession cards are available from the TAFE or college office.

14  Can secondary students aged 16 and over travel with a Child/Youth Opal card?

Yes, students aged 16 and over can travel using a Child/Youth Opal card if they carry a Senior Secondary Student Concession Card. Senior Secondary Student Concession Cards are available from the school, college or TAFE office.

15  Can value be added to the School Opal card for personal travel?

No, value can't be added to the School Opal card as this is a free travel card. For personal travel students should use the appropriate Opal card, such as a Child/Youth Opal card.

16  How do you travel with your School Opal card?

At the start of each trip, tap on by placing your Opal card on an Opal card reader. At the end of the trip you tap off by placing your Opal card on an Opal reader again. Although it's a free pass, you still need to tap on and tap off.

17  Are there any restrictions on when and where I can use a School Opal card?

Yes, a School Opal card is for approved travel on school days between your home and school, it covers travel that commences between 6.30am and 7pm weekdays (6.30am and 9.30pm for TAFE students).

For travel outside these times you should use a Child/Youth Opal card.

18  Will the School Opal card work for travel other than between home and school?

No, the School Opal card is only valid for use between home and school on the modes specified in the original application. If an attempt is made to use a School Opal card for unapproved travel the Opal card reader will show an error.

19  What should I do if my School Opal card is lost or stolen?

Report it online and order a replacement School Opal card and a fee may apply. By doing this, the old School Opal card will be cancelled and a new one will be mailed to the customer's preferred address within five to seven days.  While waiting for a replacement card, you should use a Child/Youth Opal card to travel if eligible.

20  Why do I have to tap on and tap off when travelling for free?

Every school day, there are more than 420,000 students travelling for free on public transport. It's essential for all School Opal card holders to tap on and tap off so we understand customer travel patterns and can adjust the services provided if necessary.

21  How can I add the option of light rail travel to a School Opal card?

Existing School Opal card holders can now apply online for light rail to be added, or to replace another mode of travel, on their School Opal card. If the journey to and from school is assessed to be simplest with light rail, the existing Opal card will be updated automatically. There's no need for a new School Opal card to be issued.

22  What should I do if my School Opal card is damaged?

You should call 131 500 or email concessions@transport.nsw.gov.au quoting the student's name, address and school to request a replacement School Opal card, a fee may apply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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