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New South Wales expanding contactless ticketing trial to entire Sydney ferry and light rail network

New South Wales expanding contactless ticketing trial to entire Sydney ferry and light rail network

Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW), which manages the
transport services in the state of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, is going
to expand
the open payment trial, which was introduced to bring contactless ticketing
into Australia.

The trial is being conducted in collaboration with Cubic Corporation’s Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS)
business division, which also designed,
installed and operated
 the Opal card [1] system used for payments across the public
transport system.

Since the trial was launched in July 2017, more than 15,000 passengers
have used their Mastercard to tap and pay on the Manly Ferry service. The trial
is now being extended across the entire Sydney ferry and light rail network. Customers
will now also be able to use American Express and Visa cards to pay for their
travel. They can also use smartphones or wearables linked to these cards to pay
for public transport.

This has been adapted from the technology in London where
the contactless “pay as you go” bank card, is used for over 2.1 million contactless
journeys on its bus, Tube and rail services every day.

Open payment will not replace Opal, which is now used by
nearly 14 million people a week but will provide freedom of choice when it
comes to paying for travel.

Making the announcement, NSW transport minister, Andrew
Constance said, “In New South Wales (NSW), we know transport is no longer just
about infrastructure but also about embracing technology to provide the best
services possible for our customers. The integration of contactless transport
payments into the Opal ticketing system makes the purchasing of one-off fares
quick, easy and seamless, providing choice and convenience to customers.”

“The trial has been a very important test for this complex
new technology and we are delighted that contactless will now be expanded
further,” said Tom Walker, senior vice president and managing director of CTS
Asia-Pacific.

Transport for NSW also wants third parties to leverage the
Opal payments platform. In December 2017, the Opal system was opened 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.). CTS 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. 

The Singapore Government’s Land Transport Authority (LTA)
has been piloting Account-Based
Ticketing (ABT) since March 2017, in collaboration with Mastercard. In response
to the positive feedback, the LTA extended the
pilot with Mastercard beyond the original duration of six months, and Visa
and NETS are
expected to come on board the pilot from June 2018. 

[1] 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.