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Transport for New South Wales opens up its Opal payments system to privately-operated transport services

Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW), the statutory authority of the New South Wales (NSW) Government which manages the transport services in the state of NSW, Australia, has opened up its Opal system to third party private operators, through OpalPay. This will enable passengers to use the Opal card to pay for trips on routes operated by private operators. (However, OpalPay fares are not the same as standard Opal fares. Fares are set by the operators.)

Opal cards are smartcard tickets that people can keep, reload and reuse to pay for travel on public transport. The Opal network includes train, bus, ferry and light rail services in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands.

Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), which designed, installed and operated the Opal card system, has been working closely with TfNSW to develop Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that enable third parties to connect to the Opal system so that journeys can be paid for using the Opal card.

The open APIs allow other companies using their own terminals and equipment to connect to the Opal payments system. This allows them to simplify their operations, reduce operating costs and provide a quick and convenient way for commuters to pay for travel across a range of transportation modes.

The Manly Fast Ferry (My Fast Ferry) is the first operator to offer OpalPay, and My Fast Ferry customers will be able to take advantage of OpalPay on routes between Manly and Circular Quay. My Fast Ferry, a privately-owned fleet operator independent from the TfNSW’s Manly Ferry service that is part of the existing Opal system, will now have an expanded range of ticketing options available to commuters, with the Opal card serving as another form of payment. Opal card holders will be able to simply tap onto the service using the existing smart card ticketing installed on the fast ferry fleet.

“This is an extremely significant step in the evolution of the Opal card system and we are delighted that the Manly Fast Ferry service is the first in New South Wales to adopt Cubic’s open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which will pave the way for other third parties to leverage the Opal payments platform. The Opal card has now evolved into a single payment card for mobility, with potential future applications across other modes of transportation in New South Wales, including rideshare,” said Tom Walker, senior vice president and managing director of CTS Asia-Pacific.

Featured image: Hpeterswald/ CC BY-SA 3.0

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