Transport for NSW has awarded a contract to design, build and operate a 2017 trial for a contactless transport payment system.

Cubic Transportation Systems Australia was awarded the $10.2 million contract to develop and implement the system add-ons needed to enhance the Opal system to facilitate a customer trial that will take place on a selected location or mode.

Transport for NSW said it looked forward to implementing the trial during 2017, and it would closely monitor customer take-up and feedback to better understand how customers view contactless payments as a possible option on the network.

Contactless transport payment with credit and debit cards has the potential to offer customers an easy to use and convenient option for travelling.

Transport for NSW said the easier it was for customers to hop on a train, ferry, bus or light rail, the more likely they will get out of their cars that are congesting roads.

Only a few major mass transit systems similar in scale and complexity to Sydney’s have introduced contactless transport fare payments, such as London’s Oyster card system, where Cubic gained its experience.

Transport for NSW is also in discussions with banks and credit card payment schemes to finalise their participation in the customer trial.  

This is the first time in Australia that these financial institutions have been directly involved in contactless transport payments and they are determining their interest, role and position.

A lot of critical work needs to be undertaken to get to the customer trial stage such as finalising all the partnerships, working with the finance and contactless payments sector, and developing the necessary software and getting it into the Opal system.

This is a complex project that is implementing a customer trial while keeping Opal running for millions of customers using their smart cards.

Details on the customer trial to explore fare payment on the Opal system without using an Opal card will be released in 2017 at a time closer to the trial.

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