Fare compliance

Authorised revenue protection officers and NSW Police officers patrol trains, train stations, and bus, ferry and light rail services to help ensure you have a safe and trouble-free journey. They have the authority to issue a penalty notice or an official caution, and to request the cooperation of passengers.

Fare evasion

Authorised revenue protection officers and NSW Police officers are responsible for ensuring ticketing compliance and patrolling public transport. They have the right to ask to see your ticket and concession entitlement at any time and carry Opal card readers to check your balance, recent transaction history and the card type (e.g. Adult, Senior/Pensioner, Concession or Child/Youth).

Quick facts

    • Fare evasion cost the NSW Government $80 million in 2015. Fare evasion is unfair for the majority of passengers who pay the correct fare when using public transport. It means there is less money for us to spend on extra services and new infrastructure.
    • It is an offence to travel on public transport in NSW without being in possession of a valid ticket.
    • It is your responsibility to get a ticket before you travel.  Tickets are not available on PrePay buses or at some train stations, ferry wharves and light rail stops, so it is important you plan ahead.
    • Make sure you have sufficient balance on your Opal card to travel. It sometimes takes time for top-up values to clear and so it is important to plan ahead.
    • If you are using a concession ticket, you must be entitled to travel on this ticket and carry proof of your concession entitlement at all times.
    • Remember to always tap on and tap off.
    • It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the right ticket for your trip.

Before travelling on public transport in the Opal network:

      • You must tap on with your Opal card, or
      • You must purchase the correct Opal single trip ticket (train, ferry and light rail) that covers the length of your entire journey, ensuring you tap on at the start of your trip, or
      • You must purchase an Opal single bus ticket from the bus driver that covers the length of your entire journey.

In regional NSW, you must ensure you have a valid ticket that covers the length of your entire journey and carry your proof of entitlement if travelling on a concession ticket.

If you are caught travelling without a valid ticket, or travel using a concession ticket without being in possession of your concession entitlement, you may be issued with a fine of up to $200.

Authorised revenue protection officers have the authority, depending on the circumstances, to issue an official caution. While this does not require the payment of a penalty notice, your details will be recorded and a penalty notice may be issued if you are found to be committing a similar offence in the future.

Official cautions and penalty notices are either sent by mail to your residential address, or issued on the spot.

Opal cards, Opal single trip tickets and Opal single bus tickets

You must have enough value on your Opal card before you travel to enable you to tap on and tap off or you must purchase the correct Opal single trip ticket or Opal single bus ticket that covers the distance of your journey.

Tapping on and tapping off

You must always tap on at the start and tap off at the end of each trip with your Opal card or when you are using Opal single trip tickets on trains, ferries and light rail. By doing this, you have a valid ticket for travel. Even when you have reached your Weekly Travel Reward, you must tap on and tap off for every trip.

The only exceptions are Opal single bus tickets which do not need to be tapped, and travelling on the Sydney Ferries service travelling to and from Manly, where you only need to tap on.

Each customer travelling must have their own valid Opal card, Opal single trip ticket or Opal single bus ticket to travel.

For further information about the correct ticket, refer to the tickets and fares page for the mode you wish you travel on.

For further information on topping up your Opal card, visit the Opal website or call 13 67 25 (13 OPAL).

Paying your fine for fare evasion

If you have been fined, you will receive a penalty notice either on the spot or in the mail within 7–10 days. Payment can be made to the State Debt Recovery Office by mail, phone or online.

If you wish to dispute the penalty notice, you have the option of writing a letter to the State Debt Recovery Office or elect to have the matter dealt with by a court.

Visit the State Debt Recovery Office website for further information on the penalty notice review process. Less than 4% of reviews result in the fine being overturned.

Transport offences and penalties

Penalties for offences on trains, buses, ferries and light rail include:

OffencePenalty noticeMaximum penalty
Putting feet on seats $100 $1,100
Travelling without a valid ticket/card $200 $550
Littering $200 $1,100
Smoking $300 $550
Drinking alcohol $400 $1,100
Offensive language, offensive behaviour or spitting $400 $1,100
Blocking doors or interfering with equipment $400 $5,500
Damaging vehicles or property through graffiti or vandalism $400 $2,200
Trespassing on railway land $400 $5,500
Throwing an object in, at or from a public passenger vehicle or station $200 $2,200

Making sure you have a valid ticket

Because tickets are easy to buy and ticketing information is freely available, it is not a reasonable excuse to say:

      • “I was running late”
      • “I didn’t know the fare”
      • “I didn’t know what kind of ticket to buy”
      • “I left my concession card at home”
      • “I’ve lost my ticket”
      • “I thought I tapped on”
      • “I forgot to tap on”
      • “I didn’t realise my balance was so low”
      • “I topped up my card just before I tapped on”
      • "I couldn’t get a ticket or top up at the station" – it’s important to plan ahead.

Further information

Find more about travelling with the correct Opal card, tickets and fares.