Skip to main content

Best ways to pay

There are different ways to pay for your travel on public transport in New South Wales depending on where you are travelling.

Within Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, the Hunter and the Illawarra you are within the Opal network (pdf 677KB) where you can use an Opal card or use your contactless credit, debit or mobile device to pay for travel.

If you are travelling outside of the Opal network then you can use NSW TrainLink regional trains and coaches, however you will need to book a ticket on these services.

Throughout the rest of NSW there are local buses that run within and between regional centres and towns with a separate ticket and fare structure.

If you are not sure which one you need to use, just plan your trip in the Trip Planner and that will show you the estimated fare and will tell you if you need to book or can pay with an Opal card.

Contactless payments

If you have an American Express, Mastercard or Visa debit or credit card or a linked device, you can use it to pay for travel by tapping on and tapping off at Opal readers. Just look for the contactless payment symbol /sites/default/files/styles/thumbnail/public/image/2017/07/contactless-symbol.png?itok=KL_eUfMj. Adult Opal fare pricing applies, and you will receive Opal benefits, including daily and weekly fare caps.

Contactless payments are available on metro/train, bus, ferry and light rail services in the Opal network.

You should consider contactless payments if you:

  • are a tourist or don't use public transport often
  • are an adult and not eligible for a concession fare
  • forgot your Opal card or haven't topped up

Overseas credit cards

If you use a credit card that was issued overseas, your card issuer may charge you a foreign transaction fee as well. This will be one charge per day, not each time you travel. Please check with your card issuer.

Opal cards remain the cheapest option if you:

Find out more about contactless payments.

Opal cards

Opal cards are smartcard tickets you keep and reuse to pay for travel on public transport. Once you have yours, just add value, then tap on and off to travel. You can use your Opal card on metro, train, bus, ferry and light rail services.

Opal cards remains the cheaper option if you are entitled to travel with a Child/Youth Opal card, Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card or a Concession Opal card. 

Check your eligibility.

Depending on which Opal card, there are several ways to get an Opal card. Adult and Child/Youth Opal cards are available over the counter from Opal retailers, while Gold Senior/Pensioner and Concession Opal cards must be applied for online.

There is no charge for an Opal card, however the minimum value is $20 for an Adult Opal card and $10 for a Child/Youth Opal card. At Sydney Airport stations a minimum top up of $35 applies.

Get an Opal card.

You can use an Opal card for an Opal fare on metro/train, bus, ferry or light rail services in Sydney and surrounds.

You can also use your Opal card on some private services where you can see 'OpalPay accepted here'. With OpalPay, just tap with your Opal card for fast, convenient way to pay your fare. However these fares are not standard fares and are set by the private operator and also will not count towards Opal benefits.

Adult Opal cards and single tickets are for those aged 16 years and over. Child/Youth Opal cards and single tickets are for those aged 4 to 15 years. Children aged 3 years and under travel free.

NSW residents

If you live in NSW and are entitled to concessions, check your eligibility to find the right Opal card and ticketing options for you.

Interstate seniors or pensioners

If you are an interstate senior or pensioner, you may be eligible to apply for and use a Gold Opal card. The application process for all Gold Opal cards takes 7-10 days, including the time for the card to be posted to you.

Eligible interstate pensioners can apply for a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card to use on public transport in Sydney and surrounding areas. You must have a valid Seniors Card issued by any Australian state or territory and complete the Interstate Seniors Application for a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card. Alternatively, if you hold a Pensioner Concession Card, you can apply online.

Check if you are an eligible pensioner and apply.

Eligible ACT seniors can apply for a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card. Apply through the process for both NSW and ACT residents.

Eligible seniors from any other Australian state or territory can apply for a short term Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card. You will need to apply 2 weeks before you arrive.

Your Gold Opal card for interstate seniors (excluding seniors from ACT, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania) is valid for 60 days from the date of issue – if you’re in NSW for more than 60 days you should submit a new application when your Gold Opal card expires. If you move permanently to NSW from another state you can apply for a NSW Seniors Card and get a Gold Opal card with no set expiry period.

Check if you are an eligible senior and apply.

Registering your Gold Opal card

The Gold Opal card arrives unregistered. But there are lots of reasons to register your Gold Opal card, including:

  • We can remind you when your card is about to expire
  • Your card’s balance will be protected if it’s lost or stolen
  • You’ll be able to recover any unused balance within 90 days from when your card expires
  • You’ll be able to check your travel history for up to 18 months


You can get a refund on your Gold Opal card balance if you apply within 90 days of your Gold Opal card expiry.

ACT secondary students

Eligible ACT secondary students can travel with a Child/Youth Opal card or Child/Youth Opal single tickets when carrying a valid proof of entitlement card.

Proof of entitlement

If you are travelling with a Child/Youth, Concession or Gold Opal card, you must carry a valid proof of entitlement card. If not, you must pay for an Adult fare otherwise you may be fined for travelling on an invalid ticket.

Top up your Opal card before you travel or top up on the move.

You can make one off top ups:

Some retailers require their customers to pay minimum transaction values or a service fee to cover credit/debit card merchant fees.

When you top up through the Opal Travel app, online or over the phone:

  • Allow up to 15 mins for your card balance to update or one hour if using a bus.
  • Tap on at an Opal Reader within 60 days, or the top up amount will be refunded to your account.

Whether you’re travelling using an Opal card, contactless payments, or an Opal single trip ticket, you must always tap on and tap off to be travelling with a valid ticket.

To tap on or tap off hold your Opal card, contactless card or device, or single trip ticket against an Opal reader until it turns green and makes a sound that confirms you’ve tapped correctly.

If you are using an Opal card, you need enough balance on your Opal card to cover the shortest trip on that mode of transport. If you have less than the minimum balance, you're not travelling on a valid ticket and you could be fined.

If you are using a contactless payment with a linked device, you must ensure your device has enough battery to complete your journey. Authorised Officers have the right to ask to see your ticket – in this case, the device you tapped on with – at any time. If you cannot produce your ticket for inspection by an Authorised Officer you may be fined.

If you tap on at the beginning and then forget to tap off at the end of your trip, you will be charged the default fare for an incomplete trip. A default fare is the highest fare for that service based on your Opal card type. However, you will never be charged over the Daily Travel Cap.

  • Lower fares - Opal card fares are cheaper than Opal single trip tickets and Opal single bus tickets.
  • Capped fares – No matter how much you travel with Opal you never pay more than your daily, Weekly or Weekend travel caps.
  • Security – If your Opal card is registered, your balance is protected if your card is lost or stolen.
  • Off-peak savings – With Opal, a 30% discount applies to all train journeys made on Fridays, weekends, public holidays and outside of peak hours.
  • Opal Transfer Discount – Adult Opal card holders $2 discount for every transfer between metro/train, ferry, bus or light rail as part of one journey.

Read more about Opal benefits

If you have credit remaining on your Opal card you can:

  • Keep it until your next visit
  • Lend it to friends or family
  • Get a refund on your Opal card. You'll need to complete the form, return it with your Opal card to Transport for NSW and have an Australian bank account and address.

Opal single tickets

If you don't have an Opal card or contactless payment card or device, you will need to buy an Opal single trip ticket to travel.

Designed as a back-up option, Opal single tickets are available for metro, train, bus, ferry and light rail.

Unless you require child fares, it's cheaper to pay for your travel using a contactless credit or debit card or linked device or an Opal card than using an Opal single ticket.

Opal single tickets are available as Adult or Child/Youth only. There are no other concessions available as a single ticket.

Find out more about fares for Opal single tickets.

You can buy Opal single bus tickets from the driver, except on Opal only or PrePay buses.

You can buy Opal single trip tickets from top up and single trip ticket machines at selected metro and train stations, wharves and light rail stops.

Search for your stop, station or wharf to see ticket and other facilities.


OpalPay is a way to pay for travel using your Opal card on participating transport services, including selected private ferries and On Demand public transport.

OpalPay fares are not the same as standard Opal fares. Check the fare price with the operator and make sure you have sufficient funds on your Opal card to cover the trip.

Find out more about OpalPay.

Travelling with us

If you are coming by plane, there are public transport options to get to and from Sydney Airport.

If you are travelling in a group, each person will need their own Opal card, single ticket or use a contactless payment to travel.

Find out more about group travel.

If your child is under 4, they can travel free on all public transport in the Opal network.

If your child is aged 4 to 16, they may be entitled to child fares.

Eligible secondary students aged 16 years and older also pay concessions fares with their proof of entitlement

If eligible, you can get a Child/Youth Opal card or purchase Child/Youth Opal single tickets to travel.

Find out more about child fares.