Cubic and New South Wales Government Launch Opal Card Trials

Cubic and New South Wales Government Launch Opal Card Trials

SYDNEY, Australia, and SAN DIEGO, Calif., December 19, 2012–Trials have begun in Sydney of the new Opal smart card system for public transport, being installed by the Cubic-led Pearl consortium.

“This is one of the world’s great cities and we are delighted to be bringing to Sydney a world-class electronic ticketing system (ETS), based on the London Oyster card,” said Steve Shewmaker, president of Cubic Transportation Systems.

“Sydney is getting the best of both worlds. This is tried and true ETS technology, the best available in the world today. The New South Wales (NSW) Government and the Department of Transport (TfNSW) should be congratulated for having the foresight to ensure that the new system is designed to incorporate emerging technologies as they are tested and proven in other markets.”

Shewmaker said the ferry trials were an important landmark which showed that the project was progressing on time and on budget.

“When the Government awarded the $370 million ($AU398 million) contract to the Cubic-led Pearl Consortium in May 2010, we committed to a target for commuter trials to begin on December 7, 2012. We’re delighted to have met this key milestone.”

The NSW Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian, recently unveiled the new Opal card and announced details about the ferry trials. Berejiklian said the trials would be used to fine tune the system, which would then be rolled out across greater Sydney. By 2015 Opal equipment will be operating on 42 ferry wharves, more than 300 train stations, on 5,000 buses and also on light rail.

“London has the Oyster, Hong Kong the Octopus and now Sydney has the Opal card. It will transform the way people get around, making public transport more convenient and seeing the end of ticket queues and fumbling for coins,” said Berejiklian. “The roll out is complex and we are taking our time; we have learned from overseas that progressive roll outs work best.”

The managing director of Cubic Australasia, Tom Walker, who is heading up the Pearl Consortium project, said Opal is a massive scheme.

“Geographically it’s the biggest electronic ticketing system in the world. The greater Sydney area covers 40,000 square kilometers, stretching from the heart of Sydney to north of Newcastle, south of Wollongong and west across the Blue Mountains to Bathurst,” said Walker. “In contrast, the London Oyster card’s footprint is over 8,000 square kilometers.”

“The progress made so far owes much to the close working relationship that Cubic and the members of the Pearl Consortium have forged with Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW), the State Government and public transport operators in the greater Sydney region,” said Walker.


  • The Opal card was named after the NSW official gemstone, the rare and valuable black opal.
  • Most of the world’s supply of black opals comes from the arid desert country around Lightning Ridge, about 700 kilometers inland from Sydney.
  • When she announced the name Opal for the new card late last year the Minister said it had been chosen from a list of 665 suggestions. Opal won because it was uniquely Australian, short and easy to say.


The Cubic-led Pearl Consortium team includes;

  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia – the country’s largest bank

  • epay Australia – the leading provider of pre-paid products to retailers

  • Downer – one of Australia’s biggest engineering companies

  • Parkeon – a world leader in on-board bus equipment.

About Cubic Transportation Systems

Cubic® Transportation Systems, Inc. is part of Cubic Corporation (NYSE:CUB). Cubic Corporation is the parent company of three major business segments: Defense Systems, Mission Support Services and Transportation Systems. Cubic Defense Systems is a leading provider of realistic combat training systems and defense electronics. Mission Support Services is a leading provider of training, operations, maintenance, technical and other support services for U.S. and allied nations.

Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc., is a leading integrator of payment and information technology and services for intelligent travel solutions. Cubic delivers integrated solutions that help transport operators manage their operations and services and give passengers choices in the smartest and easiest ways to pay their fares. Cubic specializes in design, development, manufacture, supply, installation, integration, services and information. Services provided by Cubic include on-site management, central systems, operations support, patron support, business support and field services.

Every year, nearly 10 billion rides are taken worldwide using Cubic payment and information systems. Cubic has delivered over 400 projects in 40 major markets on five continents. Active projects include London; Brisbane (Southeast Queensland) region, Australia; New York/New Jersey region; Washington, D.C /Baltimore/Virginia region; Los Angeles region; San Diego region; San Francisco region; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Chicago; Atlanta region; Miami (South Florida) region; Vancouver and Edmonton, Canada; Sydney (New South Wales), Germany; Australia; and Scandinavia.

For more information about Cubic, see the company’s Web site at