Sydney Opal Card - $13.40 Airport Gate Fee?

By sgb | Jun 13, 2017, 03:00 PM
Just looking at terms and conditions of this card, what is the $13.40 Airport gate fee? Please explain.
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By victort | Jun 13, 2017, 03:07 PM
Sydney airport is privately held so stops are charged an extra fee. Just like some airports (eg. Auckland) - the taxi pickup automatically adds $15-20 to your fare for the use of the Airport pickup. Ridiculous i know right! 
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By themanfromoz | Jun 13, 2017, 03:17 PM
Yes.

The private operators of the stations at the airport charge an additional fee which is built into the amount the Opal card is debited.

If there are a few of you travelling a taxi to the Sydney CBD is likely to be cheaper - around $40 from international terminal to the city (suggest you get driver to take you via O'Riordan St which is more direct than the eastern 'loop' many will take you on).

Sydney Trains Info will assist you with train times.

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By markpk | Jun 13, 2017, 03:50 PM
To expand on Victort's comment...

Airport line was originally built via PPP whereby it had a private operator and one of the concessions was that Green Square, Mascot, DOM, and INTL all had gate fees over and above the normal fare for regular stations on the line. This was supposed to provide the operator with the income they needed to fund the infrastructure etc etc etc. 

Well, that didn't work, the operator and its bankers took a bath and its now back in NSW State Govt hands - the gate fees at Green Square and Mascot have been abolished but DOM and INTL remain. 

For example:
  • Central to Wolli Creek (1st station past INTL) - 5.5k's, $3.38 for adult in peak
  • Central to DOM - 4.2k's, $17.18
  • Central to Lindfield - 17k's, $4.20

This might seem like extortion but in reality you're paying a premium for what is usually a very convenient service - particularly if you are looking to go to the city or Nth Sydney.
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By sgb | Jun 13, 2017, 03:59 PM
Thanks, extortion is a good word.
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By markpk | Jun 13, 2017, 05:24 PM
Thanks, extortion is a good word.

True...think of it more like Uber surge pricing... You're in the CBD, its late afternoon on Friday, you know both the Eastern Disty and Redfern runs to the airport are going to be rubbish - the airport train is a good option. And you pay a premium for this! 
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By Steve987 | Jun 13, 2017, 07:45 PM
The train is a great deal compared to all other options available. Cheaper (including wait times) and quicker.

The option is available to everyone to walk  to Mascot and get the cheaper train fare. I suspect most don't do this because, like me, they see value for money in the service provided at the established price point.
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By sgb | Jun 14, 2017, 08:54 AM
Yes.

The private operators of the stations at the airport charge an additional fee which is built into the amount the Opal card is debited.

If there are a few of you travelling a taxi to the Sydney CBD is likely to be cheaper - around $40 from international terminal to the city (suggest you get driver to take you via O'Riordan St which is more direct than the eastern 'loop' many will take you on).

Sydney Trains Info will assist you with train times.


It's a big fee, enough to make you take that cab, thereby almost discouraging the use of the station. Can't win them all I suppose.
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By hakkinen5 | Jun 14, 2017, 10:25 AM
You should be aware that that station access fee is capped at around $20 per week though.  So if you are doing a return trip inside a week, you'll pay the full $13.40 for the first trip, and only the balance for the return trip. And any further trips during that week you will not pay it at all.
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By sgb | Jun 14, 2017, 10:39 AM
You should be aware that that station access fee is capped at around $20 per week though.  So if you are doing a return trip inside a week, you'll pay the full $13.40 for the first trip, and only the balance for the return trip. And any further trips during that week you will not pay it at all.

Didn't know about the cap, would be good if you worked at the airport.
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By kimshep | Jun 14, 2017, 10:53 AM

Via public transport from the city, the only other 'cheap' option on an Opal card is to catch the Route 400 Bus from Bondi Junction interchange (Stand F) to Burwood (and v.v.) which stops at the Domestic and International Airport Terminals.

If you are not particularly familiar with Sydney Public Transport, then you can download 'TripView Lite' free of charge (iOS, Android and Windows Phone versions are available) which is comprehensive, real-time and accurate. It also covers Melbourne public transport (see 'Settings').

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By markpk | Jun 14, 2017, 01:22 PM
Yes.

The private operators of the stations at the airport charge an additional fee which is built into the amount the Opal card is debited.

If there are a few of you travelling a taxi to the Sydney CBD is likely to be cheaper - around $40 from international terminal to the city (suggest you get driver to take you via O'Riordan St which is more direct than the eastern 'loop' many will take you on).

Sydney Trains Info will assist you with train times.


It's a big fee, enough to make you take that cab, thereby almost discouraging the use of the station. Can't win them all I suppose.

Hardly...

  • Most cab drivers will want to take you via the ED in either direction which usually is a car park. 
  • The cab fare is rarely below $35-$40
  • Most cabs are death traps and stink (like Sydney Trains - I'll grant you that!)
As a commentator noted above, the issue with the gate fee is that if you're travelling with a work colleague or family, the cab becomes the cheaper option - something NSW Transport needs to sort out...
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By Nick Sydney 2 | Jun 14, 2017, 03:54 PM
Extortion is a great way of describing this. But it sure beats the road nightmare that Sydney is becoming. 
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By ajd | Jun 14, 2017, 04:11 PM
Well, that didn't work, the operator and its bankers took a bath and its now back in NSW State Govt hands - the gate fees at Green Square and Mascot have been abolished but DOM and INTL remain. 

All those stations are still owned by the private operator, but the NSW government receives a proportion of the station access fees under the contract they have with Airport Link, and they agreed to abolish the fee on Green Square/Mascot.
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By ajd | Jun 14, 2017, 04:12 PM

Via public transport from the city, the only other 'cheap' option on an Opal card is to catch the Route 400 Bus from Bondi Junction interchange (Stand F) to Burwood (and v.v.) which stops at the Domestic and International Airport Terminals.

If you are not particularly familiar with Sydney Public Transport, then you can download 'TripView Lite' free of charge (iOS, Android and Windows Phone versions are available) which is comprehensive, real-time and accurate. It also covers Melbourne public transport (see 'Settings').


The 400 also stops at Mascot station, which no longer has a gate fee - Mascot station is only 3 or 4 stops away from the stop at Domestic.
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By kevrosmith | Jun 14, 2017, 04:52 PM
Let's be clear on some facts here:
* Four stations are owned and controlled by Airport Link Company Pty Ltd: International, Domestic, Mascot and Green Square
* Sydney Airport Corporation Ltd has no ownership/interest or influence on Airport Link, nor on the Gate Access fee, nor does it receive any revenue from the Gate Access fee
* The Opal cap on the Gate Access fee is currently $27 per week, but that's still an extra $1,404 p.a. that staff have to pay to use the train to get to work, and as numerous government reports have identified, this has a huge impact on airport workers' income.
* Since July 2014, the NSW Government has been entitled to 85% of the sales revenue of Airport Link Company, so one could say it's in their own interest to continue the Access Fee for general revenue.
* (I think it was in 2011) The NSW Government negotiated with Airport Link Company to remove the Gate Access fee at Mascot and Green Square stations. The NSW Government had to make quite a substantial payment to ALC, and I'm not certain whether these payments are ongoing or whether it was a once off.
* (Not confirmed as a fact) but I believe there are contractual restrictions for the provision of direct Public Bus services between the Airport and City, which is why service 400 only goes to Bondi Junction.
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