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You Can Now Ditch Your Opal Card on Sydney Ferries and Light Rail

Smartphone, smartwatch and bank card payments can now be used to pay for some forms of Sydney public transport.
By Lauren Vadnjal and Sarah Ward
March 12, 2018
By Lauren Vadnjal and Sarah Ward
March 12, 2018

If you want to catch a bus, train, tram or ferry in Sydney, the Opal card has been the main way to pay for your trip for a while now. But that's about to change — for some commuters, at least.

After News Corp reported the impending demise of Australia's transport ticketing cards back in January, Transport for NSW has announced that, from today, contactless card payments — and devices that have the service enabled — will be available on ferries and light rail services. Yep, you can leave your Opal in your wallet/on your desk/down the side of the couch — with this new technology, you can just tap your card or device (Visa, Mastercard and American Express are all accepted) right onto the regular Opal scanners.

Doing this will charge you for an Adult Opal single trip ticket — so if you have a concession, you might want to stick with a regular Opal card for now. Plus, using your card won't cap your fare when you travel multiple times in a day or week.

Nonetheless, it's a welcome leap in technology — and one that was always going to happen at some point soon. Moving away from dedicated transport cards — or adding other payment options — will make things easier for tourists and travellers (and people who, god forbid, leave their Opal at home), who shouldn't have to buy a new piece of plastic just to catch a bus or train (or pay extra for a paper ticket if they don't) when they're visiting. However, if we're moving towards a contactless future, ensuring the new system remains accessible for anyone that doesn't have a smartphone, smartwatch or bank card remains a concern.

So what about the other cities? Melburnians can expect to scan on with a credit or debit card in trials due to start this year, focusing on Routes 11, 86 or 96, according to The Sunday Herald Sun. And in Brisbane, The Sunday Mail reports that a trial will commence either later in 2018 or sometime in early 2019, starting with the Airtrain.

Published on March 12, 2018 by Lauren Vadnjal


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