School excursion travel with Opal cards

Child/Youth Opal cards are for personal travel including school excursions using public transport.

Schools are encouraged to ask parents to provide their child with a Child/Youth Opal card prior to school excursions. It is important to ensure there are sufficient funds on each card to cover the excursion travel expenses.

School Opal cards are for travel to and from school on school days only. School Opal cards do not include travel to school excursions, after-school care, sport and other activities away from school.

Schools can also have additional topped up Child/Youth Opal cards for students who have forgotten or lost their Opal card, or have insufficient funds to travel.

Adult and Child/Youth Opal cards can be obtained online or at more than 2,100 Opal retailers, Transport Customer Service Centres, and selected Service NSW centres. Online payment is by Visa or MasterCard, with most retailers also accepting cash payments. Payments by cheque or additional discounts for groups are not available when travelling on the Opal network.

Adults travelling with the student group will need to use their own Opal card. Please note: Students aged 16 years and older must carry their NSW/ACT Senior Secondary Student concession card. These are issued by the school as proof of concession entitlement.

Schools should contact their local operators for school excursion travel outside the Opal network.

Planning for large groups

On regular buses

It is not possible to reserve seats for your group. If your group plans to ride a regular bus service, it is best to avoid peak travel times (7am-9am and 4pm-6.30pm) as buses often reach capacity. Large groups should plan ahead and allow plenty of time for travel. You may need to consider splitting into smaller groups and be prepared to stand if seats are full.

On trains

It is not possible to reserve seats or carriages for your group on Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink Intercity services.

You can, however, reserve seating on a NSW TrainLink Regional service. For more information visit NSW TrainLink or call 13 22 32.

It is recommended that you contact Sydney Trains in advance of travel, to assist you with your travel plans. For more information visit Sydney Trains Excursions.

On Sydney Ferries

It is not possible to reserve seats for your group. Large groups should plan ahead and allow plenty of time for travel. Special event days, school holidays can be busy and popular services can fill up quickly.

Sydney Ferries cannot guarantee passage on a specific service if there is a delay, cancellation or if a service reaches capacity.

For information about group travel on Sydney Ferries, email

Newcastle Ferries

For information about group travel on the Stockton Ferry, contact Newcastle Ferries on 02 4974 1160.

On Sydney Light Rail

It is not possible to reserve seats for groups on the Sydney Light Rail. Large groups should avoid travel during peak times as services often reach capacity

Large groups should plan ahead and are advised to split in to smaller groups if needed or wait for the next service if the vehicles are full.

Chartering a bus

Schools can charter buses for school excursions. To find out more about chartering a bus, contact your local transport operator.

If you need help locating a charter bus service for your desired route, contact 131 500.

Travel apps

Schools can use the trip planner to plan their trip and choose from a range of travel apps