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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Opal troubles

Because my son is coming out to visit me for three weeks I decided to buy an Opal card he could use on public transport. So I went to the local news agent and told the guy behind the counter what I wanted the card for - my son was coming out to study in Sydney - and he gave me a "child/youth" card. It sounded reasonable so I didn't question the decision. I then put $50 of credit onto the card and went home.

At home I called the Opal call centre to ask about registering the card and linking it with my credit card so that it would have the automatic top-up facility enabled, and the guy on the phone told me that the "child/youth" card was not the right card for my son because my son is 20 years old, and the "child/youth" card is only applicable for people up to the age of 18. He then told me to go back to the news agency to get them to transfer the credit from the "child/youth" card to an adult card.

In the news agency there was a different guy behind the counter now and he was not able to do the requested credit transfer. Because the situation was by now so difficult he got angry with me, asking me why I had told his predecessor that my son was coming out to Sydney to study, presumably implying that I should have known that the "child/youth" card is only usable by people aged 18 years and under. I in turn got angry and told the guy I would never use his shop again. Tempers flared. I quit the joint in a huff.

I then trotted off to a convenience store near my place and got an "adult" Opal card, then went home and registered it online using the internet. I linked the new card to my credit card so that it would automatically top up with credit when the level of $10 is reached. Then I called Opal again and asked them if I could transfer the credit from the "child/youth" card to the new "adult" card, but they said that I would have to go to an Opal card reader and tap on, then immediately tap off.

So this morning on the way home from a doctor's appointment I stopped by the light rail stop down the street near the casino and tapped on. The card was rejected. I consulted the tiny booklet that comes with new Opal cards and it said that the result I could see on the card reader meant the card had no credit in it, so I went into another convenience store, just nearby, and put $20 of credit onto the card. Then I went outside and tapped on and immediately tapped off again.

Back at home I called the Opal help line once more and asked them if I could transfer the credit from the "child/youth" Opal card to the new "adult" card, but they said that I would have to wait 24 hours from the time of the first "tap on" before the credit could be transferred across. So it seems we are getting to the conclusion of the troubles. But I have to say that the amount of faffing around that has occurred just in order to set up an Opal card and link it to my credit card successfully - for the benefit of my son, who hasn't even arrived in Australia yet - is slightly alarming.

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