Transport for NSW looks to NFC, Android for Opal penalty notices

Transport officers may soon use NFC-enabled Android devices to determine whether Opal users are skipping their fares.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Transport for NSW is seeking expressions of interests from the IT industry to develop a mobile application to assist its transport officers with the issuing penalties for the new Opal card system.

At the moment, Sydney Trains is developing an Electronic Penalty Infringement Notice (EPIN) mobile application under closed tender. However, with the rollout of the Opal electronic ticketing system, EPIN will need a way to interface with the NFC technology Opal uses, as well as connect to its web services back end.

To do this, the expression of interest document sets out the requirements of an "Opal Revenue Protection Application" (ORPA), which will be used by transport officers via Android. In Android's case, it should be able to use the NFC reader built-in to many devices using the operating system.

Transport officers will be able to read data from Opal cards, including encrypted data, and also retrieve data from back office electronic ticketing systems.

The requirements also state that transport officers should be able to directly top up an Opal card. This is in contrast to the current methods of top up, which involve payments made through Opal's web service.

Transport for NSW expects to roll the application out to hundreds of users, each of which will read Opals cards up to 500 times in a single working shift.

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