You can tap on with a credit card on a bus in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Adelaide — and soon in Melbourne and Canberra.
Bus networks in Australia’s cities and centres
If there’s any time when you want to be able to make a fast payment, it’s when boarding a bus. Gone are the days when you need to carry cash to pay for a bus ticket. Getting around in Australia’s major cities is easy with the variety of payment options. Whether you tap your credit card or your mobile phone (with Apple Pay), paying for public transport in the city has never been more convenient.
All major Australian cities and regions have dedicated bus networks. It’s best to think of these systems by state. Some states have one main public transport network, while others have additional providers. The bigger states — New South Wales and Victoria — will have more options.
Major bus networks
The major bus networks in Australia coincide with the most populated areas across the country. Each city or state operates its own bus network with different infrastructure, payment options and timetables.
Australia’s major bus systems include:
- Gold Coast
Payment methods accepted by different bus networks
The networks allowing passengers to tap on with a credit or debit card include Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Adelaide — with Melbourne and Canberra soon to accept credit cards on buses. Perth, Hobart and Darwin don’t allow for credit card payments.
|City||Bus system||Primary payment method||Credit card or debit card payments||Other payment methods|
|Adelaide||Adelaide Metro||metroCARD||Yes||Mobile wallets and smart devices|
|Brisbane||Translink||Translink Go Card||Yes||Mobile wallets and smart devices|
|Darwin||CDC Northern Territory||Tap & Ride Card System||No||Cash|
|Gold Coast||Translink||Translink Go Card||Yes||Mobile wallets and smart devices|
|Melbourne||Public Transport Victoria||Myki||No||Mobile wallets|
|Newcastle||Transport for New South Wales||Opal Card||Yes||Mobile wallets|
|Perth||Transperth||SmartRider||No||Cash, but no change will be given.|
|Sydney||Transport for New South Wales||Opal Card||Yes||Mobile wallets and smart devices|
Bus systems with contactless payment options
Adelaide (South Australia)
Adelaide Metro is the public transport network for the greater region of Adelaide.
The primary payment method is the metroCARD. Buy or recharge a metroCARD at physical locations around the city or online. You can recharge in blocks of $5-10 up to $200.
Adelaide buses accept tap-on credit cards and mobile and smart device payments.
Translink is the public transport network in Brisbane. It also services towns and cities beyond the Brisbane region.
The primary payment method is the Translink Go Card. Buy the Go Card online, at a local retailer or by calling 13 12 30. Like most transit cards, choose between a manual or auto top-up. You can link your credit or debit card to the account.
Credit cards, debit cards and mobile payments are also accepted on buses.
Gold Coast (Queensland)
Translink operates in the Gold Coast, too. There are also various small private buses in the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, given it’s a major tourism region.
The Go Card is the primary payment method and operates the same as it does in Brisbane.
Similarly, credit cards, debit cards and mobile payments are also accepted on buses.
Newcastle (New South Wales)
Two and a half hours north of Sydney is the regional city of Newcastle. With nearly half a million residents, it has its own public transport system, Newcastle Transport.
The primary payment method and network card is Opal, which works similarly in Sydney.
You can also board a bus in Newcastle by tapping a credit or debit card or mobile wallet.
Sydney (New South Wales)
Transport for New South Wales provides information about Sydney’s bus, train, metro, ferry and light rail.
Top up via the Opal Travel app, the website, at pay stations or Opal retailers. There are different types of Opal cards — for adults, children, seniors, NSW residents, and students. Opal card holders enjoy additional benefits, such as a weekly travel reward and off-peak savings.
Passengers can use a credit card, debit card or mobile wallet to tap on a bus or reload an Opal transit card. Pay stations also accept credit cards.
Bus systems still to go contactless
Canberra (Australian Capital Territory)
Transport Canberra is the main public transport network for buses and light rail.
The primary payment method is the network card MyWay. MyWay cards are available in locations across Canberra or online. You can use your credit card to load funds, but you’ll save 5% on fares with autoload (direct debit or BPAY).
MyWay+, the updated system, will allow passengers to tap on and off using a credit card, phone or smartwatch.
Darwin (Northern Territory)
CDC Northern Territory operates the main bus service in Darwin.
The primary payment option is the Tap and Ride card system. You can buy weekly or multiple trips with either cash on a bus or a credit or debit card at the Darwin, Casuarina and Palmerston bus interchanges.
Passengers can’t board a bus by tapping a credit card.
Metro Tasmania is the bus network in Hobart and other major urban areas in the state.
Greencard, the network card, is the primary payment method. You can buy one online, at a Metro shop or by calling 13 22 01. You can recharge the card at a Metro shop, online or with the Metro Tas App using your credit card.
Passengers boarding a bus can’t pay for a ticket directly with a credit or debit card.
Public Transport Victoria is the provider for Melbourne residents and visitors.
The primary payment method is the network card, Myki. You can travel on Melbourne’s buses, trains and trams with the Myki card. You can also use it for bus trips within Victoria’s major regional hubs, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. Load and top up your Myki money through the online account or app using your credit or debit card. You can pay for tickets using Google Wallet.
The Melbourne transport card readers won’t accept credit card payments until 2025.
Perth (Western Australia)
Transperth is the public transport network for the metropolitan area of Perth.
The primary payment method is SmartRider, the network card. There are various card loading options, including autoload at train stations, BPAY and authorised retail sales outlets.
You can’t tap on a bus with a credit card, but you can link a credit card to an online account or use it to buy a ticket at a pay station.
How to tap on or off a bus
Contactless boarding is the most convenient way to access public transport, especially in Australia’s capital cities. Tap-on bus payments make for easier travel, fewer lines and free movement around Australia’s cities.
Using the tap-on function for contactless bus payment is no different to tapping your credit or debit card at the store.
- Hover your card over the reader over the payWave symbol, a couple of centimetres above the device.
- Wait for a sound or the payment notification on-screen.
- If it’s not picking up your card, move it around in a circular motion to capture different parts of the reader.
It depends on where you live, when you travel, and how far you’re going. For example:
- In New South Wales, a bus ticket for a trip over eight kilometres is $5.05.
- In the Northern Territory, the standard adult full fare is $3 for unlimited bus travel for three hours.
- In Adelaide, a regular trip using the metroCARD is $4.25 during peak hours or $2.40 during off-peak.
You can’t use a credit card instead of Myki yet, but you’ll eventually be able to use your credit card on Melbourne public transport.