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]