While roads are busier in NSW Opal offers reward to ride

Person sitting on bus looking out window with headphones on, utilising the Opal travel credit trial.

If you’re finding yourself back riding trains and buses as 2021 rolls away from COVID restrictions, you might be looking for ways to minimise the somewhat unfamiliar cost of commuting.

For those living and traveling in and around Sydney, the Opal digital card trial and Connect service could help you cut back on this regular expenditure. 

In line with the rise of mobile payment platforms, there’s currently a trial underway to add your Opal card – the main transport ticketing system used across Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, the Hunter and the Illawarra – to your digital wallet so you can tap on and off public transport using your phone. 

But the exciting news for frugal travellers who also use on demand bus services is the Opal Connect travel credit trial. Users can earn rebates when booking on demand transport and using public transport within a 60-minute window.

Up to $2 can be credited back to your Opal account with each journey, which you can then use to book future on demand services. The listed on demand routes go as far north as Lake Macquarie, west to Rouse Hill and south-west to Casula, and can be booked for pick-up from a convenient location near you.

Public transport numbers still low – what does this mean for drivers?

Regardless of money-saving incentives, many people are still avoiding public transport. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded only 14% of Aussies using public transport last month compared with the 23% of regular users prior to COVID-19 restrictions. 

While this still marks a 9% increase from September 2020, it hasn’t matched the rebound in road use that’s now at pre-pandemic levels.

For drivers, this could mean busier roads with potentially great risk of accidents. So if you are  choosing your own set of wheels over a shared ride, make sure you’re insured for any unfortunate events.

When reassessing your car insurance in 2021, you’ll want to investigate if your policy options are all still appropriate. 

If you’re driving more often, that pay-as-you-drive car insurance plan you opted for during lockdown may no longer suit you. For anyone who’s contributed to the 22% rise in new car sales in March, upgrading insurance to cover the full value of your fresh new ride could also be a priority. 

Whatever changes you’re considering, it’s always worth having a hunt around to see if you can find a better deal on your car insurance policy. If you’re keen to find a new comprehensive car insurance quote, start the research process with some of the options below.

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