Forgetful Opal card user now footing bill for entire NSW public transport system
SYDNEY, Saturday: Just months after the launch of a new ‘Opal’ smart card ticket system for the state’s public transport, a forgetful Sydney man has racked up $4.3 billion of fares on his card, single-handledly covering the entire cost of running the state’s busses, trains, ferries and trams.
The new system requires travellers to ‘Tap On’ with the smart card when they get on a bus or tram, and then ‘Tap Off’ at the end of the journey. If users forget to ‘Tap Off’, then the maximum fare for that route is charged.
The man’s complete and continuing failure to remember to ever ‘Tap Off’, has led to the blowout in charges against his card, which now runs to several hundred million dollars per week. Previously, his weekly transport bill came to $23.
“It is a bit more expensive than before,” he said, “but I suppose I’ve only got myself to blame. No matter what I do, I always forget at the last minute to ‘Tap Off’”
“I’ve tried everything to make me remember. I tried holding the card in my sweaty hand for the whole journey. I’ve tried balancing it on my head so that it’s the only thing I can think about. I’ve even tried pinning it to my eyeball with a thumbtack, but no matter what, I always forget.
“It’s as if I’d prefer to concentrate on getting off the bus safely, rather than accommodating to the needs of a soul-less computerized ticketing system whose user experience is fundamentally at odds with the way humans behave on public transport.”
A spokesperson denied that the Opal card system was a sophisticated plot to strip public transport users of billions of dollars. “There’s nothing sophisticated about it,” the spokesperson said, speaking from a Jacuzzi full of $100 notes.
“Sure, there may be a few teething problems. The average commuter may forget to ‘Tap Off’ the first thirteen or fourteen thousand times, but once they’ve lost their worldly possessions, their car and their home to the maximum route fares, we have found that ‘Tapping Off’ becomes a front-of-mind issue for them, and it no longer is the biggest problem in their life.”
Despite the extra charges, the forgetful man says the Opal card is a mixed blessing. “Sure, it’s costing me hundreds of millions of dollars more per week, but it’s got automatic direct debit from my credit card, so it’s not all bad.”