MULTIMODAL: Opal+ app users will be able to plan, book and pay for public and private transport journeys

Transport for NSW is to officially launch the digital version of its Opal transit card that enables passengers to pay fares by tapping a reader with their NFC smartphone or smartwatch and to begin trialling a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) app that will let users plan, book and pay for multimodal journeys across both private and public transport services.

The app — known as Opal+ — will also enable passengers to purchase a prepaid weekly or weekend subscription for unlimited travel on public transport, ‘journey bundles’ of between two and six metro, train, tram and bus tickets, and add-ons to pay for privately operated taxi, rideshare, e-bike and parking services.

Users will also be able to use an account-based feature called Opal Connect “to tap on and off with their phone or smartwatch using their digital wallet which is linked to their Transport Connect account”, Transport for NSW executive director Kurt Brissett says in a LinkedIn post.

In addition, Opal+ subscribers will receive regular discounts and special offers at selected food outlets and attractions and on airline tickets.

Transport for NSW is rolling out the digital transit card and piloting the MaaS app as part of a AUS$568m (US$396m) upgrade to the Opal system over the next two years that will also include the implementation of new Opal readers across the transport network.

Intelligent transport

“This app will revolutionise the way we travel in NSW because it factors in first and last mile journeys, making it simpler and easier to leave the car at home and get from door to door,” NSW’s Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport Rob Stokes says.

“Opal+ will free up people to choose their own adventure when it comes to transport, laying the groundwork for an even more intelligent transport system that puts the citizen at its heart.”

A short video explains how the Opal+ app will work for journey planning and ticketing.

Transport for NSW plans to trial the app for 12 months with 10,000 users in the Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Illawarra, Central Coast and Hunter regions.

In addition to public transport subscriptions and ticket bundles, participants in the trial will be able to purchase add-ons for Silver Top taxis, Ola Rideshare, Beam e-bikes and Secure Parking, with support for Lime e-bikes  and Neuron e-scooters “coming soon”.

The pilot Opal+ app will initially be available for iPhone users and an Android version is due to follow later this year.

Transport for NSW began trialling the digital Opal card in December 2020 and announced plans to pilot the MaaS app in December 2021.

Transport for NSW to pilot Opal+ Mobility-as-a-Service app was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.

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