Last Monday morning amid my post-weekend haziness, I attempted to tap-on at the train station with my debit card instead of my Opal card. Needless to say, I felt like a big idiot, but in as little as a year’s time, that will actually be an option. Perhaps my head was in the future?
The NSW government is looking to trial debit and credit card tap-on for busses, trains and ferries early next year, based on London’s Oyster system.
Before any of this can happen, the Opal system will need to undergo extensive upgrades to ensure security and efficiency.
“A lot of critical work needs to be undertaken in the first stage of this project, such as finalising partnerships, working with the finance and contactless payments sector, developing the software and then, in 2017, undertaking a customer trial,” says transport minister Andrew Constance.
Given that similar upgrades done in London cost them around $125 million, it’s safe to say that it won’t be cheap here either, though many say that the work paid for itself through savings in admin costs and greater usage by the public.
“The easier we can make it to hop on a train, ferry, bus or light rail, the more people we will get out of their cars congesting our roads,” said a hopeful Constance.
In an effort to keep up with advancing technology, the upgrades will also allow the option to use Apple Pay or Android Pay to tap-on. A refreshing change to a system that was run for so long by a group of apparent Luddites.
It’s unclear just how safe this system will be to our financial security, but assuming it’s as robust as London’s, it will be a welcome change to public transport.
Story: Business Insider