news The NSW Government has announced that customers using its Opal smartcard ticketing system for public transport services can now top up via its “new and improved” Opal Travel app.
Making the announcement was NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance, who also revealed planned 2017 trials of a scheme that would allow commuters to tap “contactless” credit and debit cards as an alternative to the Opal card.
The Opal scheme is based on London’s Oyster card system, which already allows users to “tap on” with credit or debit cards that feature near-field communication (NFC) technology to exchange data.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Constance said: “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.”
As well as allowing travellers to top up on the move, version 2.0 of the Opal app has a number of other improvements that will benefit users, according to Transport for NSW.
Available for download from today from the Apple App and Google Play stores, the updated Opal Travel app enables customers to:
- Set their Opal card to automatically top up
- Find the nearest Opal retailer to acquire an Opal card or top up manually
- Plan journey routes and estimate trip fares
- Monitor credit levels on additional Opal cards linked to a single profile.
“It’s clear that customers are keen to use their mobile phone as part of the transport experience, with over 300,000 downloads of the older Opal Travel 1.3 version app,” said Constance.
“With this new app, travelling with Opal just got even easier. With just a few presses on the screen, customers can check their balance, top up and plan their travels for the day,” he said.
The new app, which was developed by Transport for NSW in partnership with Outware Mobile, is also designed to improve the experience for special access customers – offering voice screen reader compatibility, plus information on wheelchair accessible services.
The announcements coincide with the two-day Future Transport Summit 2016, which is being headlined by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and aims to “to revolutionise the way government and customers plan, build and use our networks.”