Here it is, folks. The day Sydney‘s public transport system officially overtakes Melbourne’s in the convenience stakes. Because from today, commuters in Sydney will be able to use their credit or debit cards to touch on to both light rail and ferries without having to use an Opal card. You did it, New South Wales mates. You finally got one back on Victoria.
The previous trial of the technology on ferries between Circular Quay and Manly is today being extended to all ferries as well as light rail services between Central Station and Dulwich Hill, with trains expected to gain access to the contactless payment system by the end of this year.
The new system means passengers can touch on with their actual money cards, paying directly for a one-time trip and avoiding the need to join long queues to either purchase or top up an Opal card.
Touching on with a credit or debit card will incur a charge identical to an Adult Opal single-trip ticket, however the credit card payment system will not include the price benefits of using an Opal. This includes half-price travel after eight trips in a week, and transfer discounts when using multiple forms of public transport.
State Government officials asserted that smartphone and mobile watch technology will also be included in the contactless payment system in the near future.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance stated that the new system was all about providing commuters with choice and convenience, and stressed that it was not designed to replace the Opal altogether but rather to supplement it, much like the Oyster system in London which the Opal is based on.
Contactless transport payments make purchasing one-off fares quick, easy and seamless. What we are about is trying to provide convenience for tourists [and] convenience for people who might have left their Opal card at home or misplaced their Opal card.
We are not replacing the Opal system. The Opal system is here to stay, and of course attached to the Opal system are all the benefits.
So there you bloody go.
And you still can’t buy a ticket for the tram either on-board or at the vast majority of stops in Melbourne.
Your move, Victoria.