If you use public transport in Sydney, you can now tap on and off using a debit or credit card. Contactless payment is offered on trains, ferries, light rail and now also buses in Sydney, including at the Sydney Airport train stations. Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards with contactless payment enabled are all accepted.
While contactless payment has been available on Sydney’s public transport network for some time, an exciting change was implemented at the beginning of August 2019. When tapping on and off with a contactless payment card, instead of an Opal card, you can now still access all the usual Opal card benefits. This includes unlimited travel on Sundays for $2.80, the daily $16.10 travel cap, discounts when transferring between different modes of transport and a 50% discount on all trips after the 8thweekly journey. To access these benefits, you must use the same payment card or device for all trips.
You can also use Apple Pay or another smartphone digital wallet to pay with a linked card. However, you’ll need to ensure your device has enough battery to last the whole journey as you’ll need to tap off at the end. You could also be checked by ticket inspectors during the trip.
These changes, which came into effect on Thursday, almost mark the end of the line for Sydney’s Opal card. Not all buses are equipped with the necessary technology yet, but the full rollout is expected to be completed by the end of September. After this time, the only reason you would need an Opal card is to access the child, concession or senior discounts. (Payments made using contactless cards are charged the full adult fare.)
The new payment system replacing the Opal card in Sydney is very similar to the system used in London. The London Oyster card still exists, but you don’t need one as you can simply tap on and off London public transport using your credit card. It’s a hugely convenient system for both locals and visitors.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Sydney – Contactless Payments at Opal readers now available