Australian Smart Cards

David Matheson

30 September 2018

A range of train and tram operators provide services throughout Australia and various ticketing systems are in place. Smart cards are typically used for transport journeys within capital cities. They are reusable plastic cards for travel on public transport journeys, and can be easily kept in a wallet or purse. Smart cards can be registered, enabling lost or stolen cards to be reported and blocked. Cash tickets are also available in most cities, although travel using a smart card is generally cheaper. The mainland state capital cities each have different smart card systems:

  • Sydney: Opal card

  • Melbourne: Myki card

  • Brisbane: Go card

  • Perth: SmartRider card

  • Adelaide: Metrocard

Other smart cards that can be used on trains and light rail are the SeeQ card for visitors to the South East Queensland region, the Go explore card for visitors to the Gold Coast region, and the SmartCommuter card for frequent travellers on regional Transwa train services in Western Australia.

The MyWay card in the Australian Capital Territory will valid for use on light rail services in Canberra when they commence. The Greencard is used for bus services in Hobart.

 

Opal card

www.opal.com.au

An Opal card is a smart card used for most public transport services within the Sydney suburban and interurban (Intercity) areas, including by train, light rail, bus and ferry. It was introduced for some ferry services in 2012 and the rollout for train services began in 2013. Opal cards can be purchased and value can be added at Transport Customer Service Centres, at selected retailers, by phone (13 67 25) and online <www.opal.com.au>. Value can be loaded on to the card at top up machines at selected stations. Opal cards can also be linked directly to credit and debit cards.

Using an Opal card involves tapping on at the beginning of a journey and tapping off at the end. The correct fare is calculated automatically. Opal cards can be used on trains, light rail, buses and ferries within the Opal network. The Opal network extends from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and South Coast, and the Southern Highlands. Some private operators of public transport services do not accept Opal cards.

Following the completion of eight journeys from Monday to Sunday using an Opal card, fares for the remainder of the week are half-price. Transfers between different transport modes attract a discount for each transfer within an overall journey if the transfer occurs within 60 minutes. Fares for train journeys made using Opal are calculated based on the distance of the journey in five zones. Fares for light rail journeys made using Opal are calculated based on the distance of the journey in two zones.

Five different types of Opal card available: adult, child/youth, gold senior/pensioner, concession and school. There is a $2.50 fare cap on Sundays. Gold senior/pensioner Opal card fares are capped at $2.50 every day.

The Opal Travel app enables users to check their card balance, plan journeys and find information about service disruptions.

 

Myki card

www.ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/myki

A myki card is a smart card used for most public transport services within the Melbourne suburban area, as well as for most regional areas within Victoria, including trains, trams and buses in Melbourne, and V/Line commuter trains and buses in some regional cities and towns. It was launched in 2008. Myki cards can be purchased at Metro premium stations, from machines at all Metro stations and at some tram stops and bus interchanges, and at selected retailers. The purchase cost for a new myki card is $6 for an adult card and $3 for a concession card. The cards can be topped up online <www.ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/myki>, by telephone (1800 800 007), at myki machines at suburban train stations and some tram stops and bus interchanges, and at selected retailers in Melbourne. Using a myki card involves touching on at the beginning of a journey and touching off at the end. Fares for train, tram and bus journeys within the Melbourne suburban area made using myki cards are calculated based on two fare zones. Where zone boundaries overlap, myki charges the fare for the cheaper zone.

 

Go card

www.translink.com.au/tickets-and-fares/go-card

A go card is a smart card used for most public transport services within the South East Queensland region, including by train, light rail, bus and ferry. It was launched in 2008. Cards can be purchased and value can be loaded on to the card at Queensland Rail station ticket offices, selected retailers, by telephone (13 12 30) and online <www.translink.com.au/tickets-and-fares/go-card>. Go cards can also be linked directly to credit and debit cards. There are four types of go card: adult, child, senior and concession. Purchase of the card requires payment of a deposit of $10 for an adult card and $5 for a child, senior or concession card, which is refundable if the card is no longer needed.

Fares for travel using a go card are at least 30 per cent cheaper than using a single paper ticket. Travel is free after nine journeys when using a go card within a Monday to Sunday period. Eligible seniors who use a go card for two paid journeys in one day then travel free for the remainder of the day. The fare is calculated based on the number of zones travelled through during a particular journey. There are eight zones within the South East Queensland region. Travel from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm and after 7 pm on weekdays, and all day on weekends, is considered off-peak. Fares during off-peak times are 20 per cent cheaper than peak go card fares. Using a go card involves touching on at the beginning of a journey and touching off at the end.

 

SeeQ card

www.translink.com.au/tickets-and-fares/ticket-types/visitors-and-tourists/seeq-card

A seeQ card is a smart card for visitors to the South East Queensland region. It is used for public transport services within the region, including by train, light rail, bus and ferry. Cards can be purchased for three or five consecutive calendar days.

 

Gold Coast Go explore card

www.translink.com.au/tickets-and-fares/ticket-types/visitors-and-tourists/go-explore

A Gold Coast go explore card is a smart card for visitors to the Gold Coast region. It provides unlimited travel on buses and light rail services on the Gold Coast for one day.

 

SmartRider card

www.transperth.wa.gov.au/SmartRider/Types-of-SmartRider

A SmartRider card is a smart card used for most public transport services within the Perth suburban area, including by train, bus and ferry. It was launched in 2007. Cards can be purchased and value can be loaded on to the card at Transperth stations, on buses and ferries, at Transperth InfoCentres and selected retailers, using cash, BPAY and direct debit. There are seven types of SmartRider card: standard, concession, seniors, pensioner, veteran, student and tertiary.

Using a SmartRider card involves tagging on at the beginning of a journey and tagging off at the end. SmartRider calculates the fare based on the distance travelled and transfers within the journey. A discount of 25 per cent of the fare applies when autoload is used to top up the card. There are nine fare zones within the Perth suburban area. Inner Perth has a Free Transit Zone for SmartRider card users on trains. The stations included in the Free Transit Zone are City West, Elizabeth Quay and Claisebrook. Two-section fares are available for single trip journeys of 3.2 km or less.

 

SmartCommuter card

www.transwa.wa.gov.au/Bookings-and-fares/SmartCommuter-Cards

The Transwa SmartCommuter card provides discounts of 35 per cent for frequent users on the AvonLink, the Australind, and on the MerredinLink service between Perth and Northam. A SmartCommuter card must be applied for with photo identification, requires an annual fee of $60, and takes up to 14 days to process.

 

Metrocard

www.adelaidemetro.com.au/Tickets/Metrocard

A Metrocard is a smart card used for most public transport services within the Adelaide suburban area, including by train, bus and tram. It was launched in 2012. Cards can be purchased and value can be loaded on to the card from vending machines on trains, trams and buses, from InfoCentres and agents. There are four types of Metrocard: regular, concession, seniors and students. Using a Metrocard involves touching it on a validator upon boarding a train, tram or bus, and validating it upon entry or exit at Adelaide railway station. Metrocard calculates the fare based on the time of the journey. Peak fares are charged before 9.00 am and after 3.00 pm on weekdays and all day on Saturdays. Off peak fares are between 9.00 am and 3.00 pm on weekdays, and all day on Sundays and public holidays. A 14-day or 28-day Pass can also be added to Metrocard. These provide discounted unlimited travel on train, tram and bus services for 14 or 28 consecutive days.

Metrocard Visitors Pass provides unlimited travel for three consecutive days on trains, trams and buses. It can be recharged after the expiry of three days and used as a regular Metrocard.

 

References

Go card <www.translink.com.au/tickets-and-fares/go-card>.

Gold Coast Go explore card <www.translink.com.au/tickets-and-fares/ticket-types/visitors-and-tourists/go-explore>.

Metrocard <www.adelaidemetro.com.au/Tickets/Metrocard>.

Myki card <www.ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/myki>.

Opal card <www.opal.com.au>.

SeeQ card <www.translink.com.au/tickets-and-fares/ticket-types/visitors-and-tourists/seeq-card>.

SmartCommuter card <www.transwa.wa.gov.au/Bookings-and-fares/SmartCommuter-Cards>.

SmartRider card <www.transperth.wa.gov.au/SmartRider/Types-of-SmartRider>.