Single trip Opal tickets

Soon you’ll be able to buy single trip Opal tickets from top up and ticket machines across greater Sydney at a train station, ferry wharf or light rail stop near you

You can use either card or cash to purchase a single trip ticket, or top up your opal card (though the preset amounts remain, you can’t topup your Opal card with four 50c coins for example, it’s still $10, $20 etc)



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Opal Revenue Protection App: Shortlisted 2015 Sydney Design Awards →


Great to see that Transport for NSW’s Transport Officers get to use such a beautifully designed app to make their jobs easier – the ability to quickly check the status of an Opal card from the one smartphone device they’re already carrying for work.

The Opal card uses near field communication (NFC) technology that allows users to tap on and off at card readers across the Opal public transport network. ORPA takes advantage of this same type of technology, which is available on Android smartphones, to read the data on Opal cards. The app checks free read data as well as encrypted content stored on the card, and replaces the existing, single function, read-only portable readers that Transport Officers used to carry.

ORPA is a great example of how mobile technology creates great opportunities for organisations to streamline their operations while also building in flexibility for changes in the future.

More information on ORPA on Outware’s website available here.

Transport for NSW: Scan your Opal card with Opal Travel →

One of the ‘official’ apps endorsed by Transport for NSW now also allows you to scan your Opal card with an Android phone.

Using a Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled Android device, you can now scan your Opal card to check your balance, travel rewards and more.

This functionally is available on Android devices only. Apple reserves NFC functionality for Apple Pay only.

Once you scan your Opal card, the following information displays:

  • Opal card balance
  • Weekly travel rewards
  • Last tap details
  • Opal card number, status and auto top up status (active or inactive)

Opal Travel is available from Google Play.


My Opal becomes the first app to directly read Opal cards

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My Opal‘ by Toastedmint has become the first app (that I know of!) that now actually reads the data directly off an Opal card using NFC

All you need is an Android phone with NFC support, and can be ‘unlocked’ with a 99c in-app purchase.

This isn’t exactly ‘brand new’, the ability to read a balance off a transit card, as it has been previously possible using apps like FareBot for the Clipper, EZ-Link and Suica cards. Or Hong Kong’s Octopus card with NFCard. The ability to read Opal card data is the unique thing here.

While there’s no shortage of ‘Opal’ apps that will scrape your account information and show you your balance and history, there’s a delay of anywhere from 10 minutes, to 1 hour, to even longer in some cases.  This also involves handing over your username and password (which is against the Opal website terms of use)

Due to the stored value nature of the Opal card and the way the system is architected, the card itself stores basic information so that it can operate without a need to ‘phone home’.

Transport officers already do this – the Samsung handheld devices can read the balance and other information off an Opal card (and submit an infringement notice from the same device), so that everything is there and ready to read and access. However, the Samsung devices that Transport Officers have, naturally have ‘officially sanctioned’ apps, including decryption keys to read more information than what My Opal exposes. For example, cards also store their concession/entitlement value, a list of transactions, etc – this isn’t exposed in the unencrypted area that My Opal uses.

However, now ‘My Opal’ is able to read and decode the information available in the unencrypted area of your Opal card.

You’re able to see your card number, balance, total transactions, the number of journeys you’ve made this week, the last mode you took, whether your journey is in progress, what your previous tap was, and your last transaction (which is currently listed as your last journey date).

This information is considered up to date, as it is the information that the Opal card readers at barriers, stations, wharves and on buses will be using to calculate your fares.

The other benefit over relying on the website is that your last transaction date is listed – the website doesn’t list the tap off time, which can be important when it comes to the 60 minute transfer window. If you tap on at 10:00, tap off at 11:00, the only time shown online would be the tap on time. If you want to then start a new journey, you’ll have to remember exactly when you tapped off, whether it’s 10:57, 11:00, or 11:02. Now, My Opal can tell you.

Use of My Opal could also be a little bit iffy under the Opal terms of use. Use at your own risk, naturally – TfNSW would not be responsible for any loss or issues that occur from use.

My Opal is available on Google Play now.