TRAIN commuters will not be able to buy or top-up their Opal cards at most train stations, the Baird government has confirmed, in a decision that has outraged transport advocates.
It has also outraged a number of South Coast rail commuters led to believe the technology would be a simple step up from paper tickets.
While not permitted to speak to the media the ticketing officers at Bomaderry train station revealed they had no shortage of customers asking if they could buy an Opal card at the station.
Among those customers was Sophie Ray from Berry who attempted to buy an Opal card from the Bomaderry train station on Tuesday.
“I was surprised to be told by the ticket staff that the cards can only be bought online,” she said.
“They are not sold at the station or any shops in the Shoalhaven and they said at this stage there is no plan to change this.
“I am fortunate enough to have access to a private computer and a credit card.”
However Mrs Ray said there were many people in the Shoalhaven with no internet coverage, seniors who did not use computers and people including young people who can't afford a computer.
“Even if they can get to a library to use the computer, the website requires a credit or debit card to pay for the ticket, which many of these people don't have.
“If they do, the first rule of cyber safety says that you don't enter credit card details on a public computer.
“How will these people buy their Opal cards? Or will they just have to pay for daily tickets, at a much higher cost?
“I thought the Opal card was supposed to make life simpler; instead, it just seems to have made life more difficult for many in the Shoalhaven.
“This is like Yes, Minister. Introduce this card and nobody can buy it,” she said.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the system was new and as it grew in popularity any obvious issues found would be addressed.
“My understanding is Opal cards will be available from stations eventually,” Mr Ward said.
“The intention is to ensure it is readily available and accessible.”