No More Opal: NSW Transport Extends Contactless Payments To Trams And Ferries

The days of remembering to top up your Opal card or carrying loose change are ending: from today, ferry and light rail users will be able to pay for fares using contactless payments. Here's what you need to know.

First, the bad news. Contactless payments are not currently available on train or bus services. For now, the option is only being offered on Sydney Ferry services and the L1 Dulwich Hill Light Rail. (This follows a limited trial on Manly ferries over the past few months.)

When catching the ferry or light rail you can now tap on and tap off at Opal card readers using your credit card or a mobile device linked to an accepted contactless payment card.

As with Opal cards, you can reverse your tap on by tapping off again with the same card or device on the same wharf or stop. (The time limit is within 15 minutes for light rail and within 30 minutes of ferres.)

Here's the statement from Transport for NSW's website:

Contactless is a quick and easy way to pay for your trip on the light rail or on a Sydney Ferries service.

If your payment card has the contactless payment symbol or you have a mobile device linked to an accepted contactless payment card, then you can use it to pay for travel when catching a Sydney Ferries service or the L1 Dulwich Hill Light Rail in Sydney. You can tap on and tap off on these services using a contactless-enabled American Express, Mastercard or Visa card, as well as an Opal card or Opal single trip ticket.

If you’re unsure whether your card is contactless-enabled, check with your card issuer.

It’s the same fare as an Adult Opal single trip ticket for that distance. You tap on and off as normal.

This feature is particularly useful for non-locals visiting Sydney, as it means they don't have to purchase a separate Opal card or ticket when travelling on trams or ferries.

However, if you regularly use these services during the week, you should definitely stick to Opal for now. Weekly and daily fare caps do not apply to contactless payments - which means you could end up paying extra even though the fares are nominally identical.

Child and Senior fares are also not available using this payment method. We'll be keeping a close eye on when this service will be extended to buses and trains. Watch this space!

[Via Transport for NSW]


Comments

    Nope, not for me thanks. It takes far too long to get refunds or question fares at the moment, and I don't want my weekly lunch budget sucked into the snail paced operations of the Sydney public transport back of house processing system.
    And while I know there is safeguards and sureties built into the contactless EFTPOS machines, I do not have the same confidence in the Opal Card hardware.

    "However, if you regularly use these services during the week, you should definitely stick to Opal for now. Weekly and daily fare caps do not apply to contactless payments - which means you could end up paying extra even though the fares are nominally identical"

    This is incorrect. Even if you only take a few trips per week and don't reach the daily or weekly cap, the Opal Single fares are still 21% higher than the standard Opal fares (and even higher off-peak for trains) - see https://transportnsw.info/tickets-opal/opal/opal-single-tickets

    Just as long as everyone remembers that single trip fares are on average 30% more than if you paid using an Opal card. Infrequent traveller, go for it. Use public transport more than 3 days a week, use an Opal card

    What happens when they get on to check your cards? How do you prove you have paid?
    It's costing too much to use transport and still too unreliable, crowded and expensive.
    The car is still cheaper.

    pass. i dont even like the idea of being forced into the opal system. fares getting constantly higher while services are degrading. theres no way City Rail are getting direct access to my cards.

    I don’t like the idea of having an inspector scan my credit card to check if I have paid - they could skim my card. I will stick with opal it is cheaper anyway

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