2 customers looking out the window in a train

Planning your trip

Using public transport can be a convenient and enjoyable way to travel. The key is to plan ahead to make your trip as smooth as possible. This section of First Stop Transport provides a quick overview of the steps to consider in planning a trip.

The place to go for all the information you need to plan your trips on public transport is

Trip planning & timetables

You should use the trip planner or check a timetable to make sure you don’t miss your service. For buses you should also check that the service is not deviating from its regular route.

You should plan to arrive at the station, stop or wharf 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time of your service.

Finding the right station, stop or wharf

Simplified letters, colours and codes are used for each type of transport to help you better navigate from one transport mode to another. The codes are T for Train, B for Bus, F for Ferry and L for Light rail. Train and ferry lines also have codes for each line (for example T1, T2, F1, F2).

However, getting on an off your train, bus, ferry or light rail service is only part of your trip.

It’s also important to consider how you will get to and from your public transport service.

Stations, stops and wharves may also have a range of services and facilities to help you on your trip.

When travelling by bus you must signal to the driver for the bus to stop at the designated bus stop.


To travel on public transport, you’ll need a valid ticket or pass. For some services you may need to pre-purchase a ticket.

Opal cards can be used in Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands. Opal is an easy, convenient option for travel on trains, buses, ferries and light rail.

Service disruptions

Although most services operate consistently, there may be times when services are running out of order, or not running at all.

Check in advance to see if the service you want is operating normally by visiting or using transport apps.

Note: Ferries at low tides may not operate to schedule. Buses replace ferries between Parramatta and Rydalmere when tides are low.


Some trips may involve catching more than one train, bus, ferry or light rail service, or a combination of modes.

The trip planner can tell you if you need to change between services, the distance between them, and how long you may need to wait.