Watching your train come and go while you wait patiently to top-up your Opal card is one of the many tragedies of Sydney’s public transport system. But that might be about to change.

Beginning today, the F1 Ferry between Manly and Circular Quay will trial contactless payments for Mastercard users. Commuters can use credit and debit cards or devices with contactless technology in place of Opal cards to hop on this ferry service.

It’s an Australian first, but the system has found success overseas in cities such as Paris and London.

Tourists make up 40 per cent of traffic on the F1 and it is hoped the trial will streamline and simplify fares for users who are less familiar with the Opal system. But this might also give hope to commuters who are fed up with the lack of top-up facilities at busy transport hubs.

For the time being, contactless passengers will be charged a flat rate equivalent to an adult single trip, so those with concessions are encouraged to continue to use their Opal cards.

Over the next year, other payment systems (beyond Mastercard) will also be introduced. If successful, commuters can expect to see the new system rolled out under the Opal payment structure on all transport.

Also in ferry news the historic Lady Class ferries are being replaced with six new vessels this year.