Baird Government's devious Opal card cash grab exposed

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Public transport commuters who have linked their Opal card with the ‘auto top up’ option are unknowingly being used as part of a devious cash grab that has raked in millions for the Baird Liberal Government.

A commuter who has linked his or her Opal card with the ‘auto top up’ option activated has the card automatically recharged once the balance falls to $10 – meaning that $10 in value can never be spent by the Opal card’s owner.

With more than two million Opal cards in use, and at least 50 per cent of these set to ‘auto top up’, the Baird Liberal Government has been secretly pocketing millions at the expense of commuters.

“Opal card users who have activated the ‘auto top up’ option are essentially being charged a hidden $10 fee for the privilege of catching their train, bus or ferry,” said Shadow Minister for Transport & Infrastructure Ryan Park.

“The Baird Government has been encouraging commuters to use the ‘auto top up’ feature on their Opal card so they are never caught with a low balance - but the reality is that the government is raking in millions in a devious cash grab.

“This is just another hand in the pocket of commuters who have been forced to switch over to Opal.

“Commuters are not even aware whether or not this money goes back into public transport improvements or whether it is simply put into the Government coffers,” he said.

“First train commuters who bought monthly, quarterly and yearly tickets were slugged up to $440 a year when they switched to Opal. Now the government has been secretly levying a $10 fee on anyone with ‘auto top up’ on their Opal card. 

“Commuters who have activated the ‘auto top up’ feature are doing the right thing, yet they are being slugged with this devious hidden fee, while commuters who manually recharge their Opal cards can get the balance of their card into deficit – that is not a fair system.

“If you have the ‘auto top up’ option linked to your Opal card there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to spend every single dollar you’ve put on your account before it automatically recharges.

“If everyone linked their Opal card with ‘auto top up’ the Baird Liberal Government could rake in up to $20 million in this devious cash grab scheme.”