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Tapping on and tapping off

When using public transport, you need to tap on when you start your trip and tap off at the end to pay the right fare.

When you tap on and tap off correctly:

How to tap on and tap off

Hold your Opal card, contactless card or device to the Opal card reader until it turns green. A green light and one ding means your tap was successful.

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:

  • Successful tap - Green light and one ding.
  • Successful tap with low balance - Flashing amber lights and 3 dings, indicating the Opal card balance is getting low.
  • Unsuccessful tap - Red light and a two tone ding means the tap was unsuccessful.

Possible reasons for unsuccessful tap

  • The card has not been read properly. Try again within the next few seconds.
  • Insufficient balance. The Opal card reader will display this on the screen. Top up and catch the next service.
  • Card is unreadable, faulty or invalid. This can also happen if your card is tucked in your wallet or next to other types of cards. Check your card and try again.
  • Card or device has not been read properly. Try again within the next few seconds. If the problem persists, contact your financial institution.

Tips to tapping on and off

Use the same payment method

Be sure to use the same card or device for all your travel all week to receive your Opal benefits.

Tap on and tap off every time

Even when you have reached your Opal daily or weekly travel caps, you must still tap on and tap off for every trip to travel with a valid ticket.

Separate your cards

Always separate your cards when you tap on and tap off so your preferred card is charged. Watch out for card clash.

Transferring between services

Tap on and tap off for each trip, including when you transfer, and our system will automatically combine your trips into a single fare. When changing from a train to another train, you only need to tap off at the end of the journey.

Useful information

If you forget to tap on or to tap off with the same card or device:

  • you will be charged the default fare for an incomplete trip which is the maximum possible fare for that service, based on your Opal card type.
  • you will miss out on Opal benefits.
  • you could also be fined for travelling without a valid ticket. 

Exemption on F1 Manly Ferry

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

If you don't either tap on or tap off correctly, we can't tell where you've travelled from or to, so your journey will be incomplete. You will be charged the default fare.

The default fare is the highest fare for that service, based on your Opal card type. The default fare is determined by the service and the mode of transport.

It is automatically deducted from your card balance.

You will never be charged over the Daily Travel Cap.

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

If you change your mind about travelling, you can reverse your tap on to avoid getting charged.

Simply tap the same card or device on a reader at the same wharf, station or stop that you tapped on. 

You can reverse your tap on within 15 minutes for light rail and within 30 minutes for metro, train and ferry travel.

If you tapped on a bus, a tap on reversal is no longer possible if the bus has moved away from the bus stop.

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 Opal 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
($2.94 off-peak)
($1.47 off-peak)
($1.47 off-peak)
($1.47 off-peak)
($2.24 off-peak)
($1.12 off-peak)
($1.12 off-peak)
($1.12 off-peak)
$7.13 $3.56 $3.56 $2.50
Light rail
($2.24 off-peak)
($1.12 off-peak)
($1.12 off-peak)
($1.12 off-peak)

Note: Trips that include transfers between Sydney Metro, Sydney Trains and/or NSW TrainLink Intercity services are considered a continuous journey. No need to tap off and on again between services, and you’ll be charged a single fare.