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Tapping on and off with Opal

When using public transport, you need to tap on when you board and tap off when you arrive at your stop. If you are transferring to another service, you need to tap on again and tap off at your destination.

When you tap on and off correctly with sufficient balance on your Opal card:

If you do not tap on, you may be fined for travelling without a valid ticket.

If you do not tap on but do tap off at the end, you will be charged the default fare.

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.

Incomplete trips are not counted towards the Weekly Travel Reward on your Opal card.

Exemption on F1 Manly Ferry

When travelling on the F1 Manly Ferry service, you are not required to tap off with your Opal card. The service has only one stop, so you are charged automatically when you tap on.

The default fare is determined by the service and the mode of transport.

If you do not either tap on or off correctly, the system will assume you travelled the furthest distance provided by the service you were on. You will be charged the default fare. The default fare is the highest fare for that service, based on your Opal card type.

It is automatically deducted from your card balance.

However, you will never be charged over the Daily Travel Cap.

If you have been charged the wrong fare because the reader was not working and you could not tap off, then you can apply for a fare adjustment.

To successfully tap on to a service, 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 are not travelling on a valid ticket and may be fined.

If your card goes into a negative balance, you will need to top up to travel again using that card.

Minimum balance for  Adult Child/Youth Concession Gold Senior/Pensioner
($2.42 off-peak)
($1.21 off-peak)
($1.21 off-peak)
($1.21 off-peak)
$2.15 $1.07 $1.07 $1.07
$5.88 $2.94 $2.94 $2.50
Light rail
$2.15 $1.07 $1.07 $1.07

To tap on or tap off correctly hold your card or single trip ticket up to the Opal card reader until it turns green.

When you hold your Opal card against or a short distance away from an Opal reader, the machine will read the card and display one of the following messages.

The messages, sounds and lights on Opal readers

Successful tap

Green light and one ding means your tap was successful. The Opal reader will show you the balance on the card when you tap on. When you tap off, it will show you the fare amount deducted from the card and remaining balance.

Successful tap with low balance

Flashing amber lights and 3 dings means the tap was successful but the card balance is getting low. This can happen when tapping on or off the service. You will need to top up the balance as soon as possible to keep using that card.

Unsuccessful tap

Red light and a two tone ding means the tap was unsuccessful. It is generally one of four things:

  1. The balance on the card is too low. The Opal card reader will display this on the screen.
  2. The card has been read properly. You will need to wait and try again within the next few seconds.
  3. The Opal card cannot be read or is invalid. It may be a problem with the balance or the card is faulty or invalid. This can also happen if your card is tucked in your wallet or next to other types of cards.

If you have been charged the wrong fare because the reader was not working and you could not tap off, then you can apply for a fare adjustment.