NSW is letting commuters pay for Ubers, Lime bikes, taxis and ferries with their digital Opal card in a new trial

Supplied: Transport NSW
  • The NSW Government is letting 10,000 digital Opal card users pay for Ubers, bike-sharing, taxis and ferries in a new trial.
  • Commuters who use their Opal card to pay for public transport and one other mode of transport will get a $3 credit.
  • The trial was announced as part of the launch of the Future of Transport Technology Roadmap 2021-2024, which also includes proposals for making state’s bus fleet zero emissions and trialling autonomous ride-sharing.
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The NSW Government will trial allowing travellers to pay for discounted ride-sharing, bike-sharing, taxi and ferry rides using their digital Opal card under a new scheme that rewards commuters for using more than one form of transport.

On Tuesday, NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance and Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole launched the Future of Transport Technology Roadmap 2021-2024.

The trial, which was officially announced during the event, will give 10,000 participants the option of paying for Uber rides, Lime Bikes, Ingogo Taxis and the Manly Fast Ferry using their digital Opal card.

The trial will give a $3 discount to travellers who use public transport and another mode of transport as part of their commute in an effort to encourage multi-modal transport.

Those in the trial will get the discount when they use two or more modes of transport within sixty minutes of each other.

“We’re applying a discount for people to use public transport and leave their car at home, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s what we should be doing with tech,” Mr Constance told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We know how convenient using one card is and this is just the beginning. If the trial is successful we will look into rolling it out across the network and we’ll be inviting other providers to get on board too.”

Future plans for NSW’s public transport system

Other parts of the Roadmap include transitioning the state’s bus fleet to zero emission busses, expanding the EV charging network, bringing Opal cards and real-time information to regional NSW, and autonomous ride-sharing trials.

Constance and Toole said that the trial, as part of the Future of Transport Technology Roadmap, was an example of how technology and transport infrastructure was working in tandem to improve public transport for residents.

“It’s an exciting time for our passenger and freight customers in Greater Sydney and regional and outer metropolitan NSW as the technological improvements to our transport networks and our systems will enhance customer services and lift productivity to new levels,” they said in a statement.

Constance first announced digital Opal cards in 2019, then foreshadowing the ability to pay for Ubers and taxis using the card in the future.

Transport for New South Wales has integrated the state’s public transport data with Uber’s ride-sharing data, making Sydney, along with Chicago, the first cities in the world to have this functionality.