Introduction of the School Opal card 

issue0116-opal-students-iconThe School Student Transport Scheme (SSTS) gives eligible students free or subsidised travel between home and school, on the approved train, bus or ferry services.

From Term 1, 2016 Transport for NSW will be issuing School Opal cards to students eligible for travel under the School Student Transport Scheme via a new online application process. 

The introduction of the new School Opal card and online application form will provide significant benefits:

Automatic renewal – most parents, guardians and students won’t need to apply for a School Opal card if they have already been given a school student travel pass and will automatically receive a School Opal card in 2016.

However, parents, guardians and students will need to apply if the student:

  • is just starting school and has not had a pass before
  • is moving from Year 2 to Year 3 or from Year 6 to Year 7 (change to the minimum walking distance eligibility)
  • is changing schools or campuses, including going between primary and secondary school
  • or, if the student’s personal details have changed (e.g. address).

Reduced distribution – while School Opal cards will automatically be sent to schools for existing pass holders for distribution for travel in Term 1, all new applications received for travel from the start of 2016 will be sent directly to the student’s nominated address.

Online application form – parents, guardians and students can go online to complete their application form, print it out and return it to the school.

Simplified replacement process – to replace lost, stolen or damaged passes, parents, guardians and students simply need to visit: or call 131 500 to order a new School Opal card. 

Online eligibility assessment – the new online application portal will automatically assess eligibility based on distance rules which have not changed.

Same eligibility rules – the eligibility rules for subsidised school travel remain the same for travel inside and outside the Opal network. Students may need to live a minimum distance away from their school:

  • Years K-2 (Infants) no minimum distance.
  • Years 3-6 (Primary) 1.6km straight line distance or 2.3km walking distance or further.
  • Years 7-12 (Secondary) 2.0km straight line distance or 2.9km walking distance or further.


For answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the use of school Opal cards in 2016 click here (PDF 254.9KB).

To find out more about the School Student Transport Scheme visit: 


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