Sydney residents can expect the first release of an electronic ticketing system at the end of 2012 as a part of the NSW Transport Master plan and a commitment in the NSW Budget, released in June.
The ticketing system, called Opal, will be rolled out on Sydney’s ferries by the end of this year, before being extended to trains, buses and light rail over the next two years.
The Opal cards will be similar in size to a credit card, which can be topped up as required. The card can be ‘tapped on’ at a card reader at the start of a journey and ‘tapped off’ at the end of their journey. The fare will be automatically calculated and deducted from the value on the card.
Victoria fully implemented its smart ticketing system, the Myki card, across its public transport network in July 2010 and will phase out paper tickets at the end of 2012, giving commuters 18 months to make the switch. A Victorian Transport Ticketing Authority spokesman said the Myki was already used for 61 per cent of all public transport trips.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the Opal card will be future-proofed, with the readers capable of using contactless payment via bank cards and mobile phone.