Using SmartRider

Tips about tagging on and off, fare calculations and more.

Tagging on and off

This is simply placing your SmartRider on a card validator at the start and end of your journey.

Though tagging on and off is simple it’s the most important part of using your SmartRider. If you don’t tag on you haven’t purchased a valid ticket to ride on our services and if you don’t tag off we can’t figure out the correct amount your journey costs.

What you do
At the start and end of each journey, place your SmartRider over the picture of the card on a card validator on the bus, on the ferry or at the train station.
What happens A beep and green light confirms a successful tag on or tag off. When you tag on, the card validator will display your remaining balance. When you tag off, the card validator will display the amount of the fare deducted and your remaining balance.

Exceptions to tagging on and off

CAT bus services No need to tag on, or off.
Bus journeys that start and finish within the Free Travel Zone No need to tag on or off. This Free Travel Zone exception does not apply to Train journeys.
Warwick and Whitfords stations

Within the interchange area, you may transfer from the train to the bus, without tagging off the train or from the bus to the train, without tagging onto the train.
The SmartRider will automatically transfer you to/from the train service.
You will always need to tag on and off the bus.
Additionally if you finish your bus journey at Warwick or Whitfords and are not transferring onto the train you will still need to tag off at the fare gates when you leave the station.

Transferring from one train to another train without leaving the station Normal transfer time periods apply. No need to tag off and then on again. Remember to tag off at the end of your journey.
Bus change route number during journey If you are staying on the same bus, there is no need to tag off and on again at time of route number change if staying on same bus. Remember to tag off at the end of your journey. 

If you don't tag on or tag off

If you forget to tag on or off properly it means you haven’t actually paid for the trip you’ve just taken. We deduct a default fare from your SmartRider card balance if you:

  • don't tag on at the start of your journey, but tag off at the end (you can be fined if you travel without tagging on, as you don’t have a valid ticket)
  • do tag on at the start of your journey, but don’t tag off

The system deducts the default fare from your SmartRider card balance next time you tag on.

For buses The default fare is the cash fare of the longest journey you could have taken on that service. The exception is when you tag onto two bus services within 60 minutes without tagging off the first. When this happens, we use your second tag on location as your tag off location for the first bus service.
For trains The default fare is the cash fare for a two zone journey.
For ferries The default fare is the cash fare between Barrack Street and Mends Street.

Tagging on and off at the same stop

If you tag on and off at the same train station or ferry jetty within 15 minutes, you pay no fare. If you tag off at the same station after more than 15 minutes, we charge you a default fare.

How SmartRider calculates your fare

Just how smart is it? Well, the SmartRider calculates the correct fare according to a number of factors that include

  • where you tag on and off
  • whether you transferred between services within the allowed transfer times
  • the type of SmartRider card you use
  • whether you use the Autoload facility available via My Account

When you tag off at the end of a journey, the system calculates the lowest fare applicable and deducts it your from your card balance.


Your SmartRider card fee and card balance are non-refundable.

Transfer of card balance if your card is lost or stolen – see Lost or stolen cards.

Transfer of card balance to another person - your SmartRider card balance is not transferable to another person.


Transfer time limits

SmartRider uses the normal transfer time limits. For journeys up to 4 zones, you have two hours from the time of your initial boarding to transfer between services. For trips covering 5 to 9 zones, you have three hours.

What if my SmartRider balance is too low?

Seeing red when you’re trying to tag on? This could be because your balance is getting too low. You will need to add value to your card before you can travel. Find out about adding value to your card.

If your SmartRider card balance at the start of your journey equals the cash fare of at least two sections, you can tag on to travel any distance. If you tag on and off with a Seniors SmartRider or Veterans SmartRider during the free travel hours, you can ignore this minimum balance requirement.

If the fare we deduct when you tag off is more than the value on your card, it will go into a negative balance. You’ll be unable to tag on again until you get your card’s balance back up to at least the equivalent of a two-section cash fare.


Find out how to check the balance of your SmartRider.


Dayrider Fare Cap

If you travel around Perth all day using your SmartRider, and do so within the DayRider fare time limits, the most we’ll deduct from your card’s balance will be the DayRider fare.

SmartRider Benefits

Save 20%

Get a 20% discount off fares with SmartRider Autoload.

Learn about Autoload.


Use your SmartRider to pay for parking at stations.

Learn about Parking.

Frequently Asked SmartRider Questions

If you’ve registered your SmartRider and it’s lost or stolen we can transfer your remaining balance to your new card. Unfortunately, there’s no protection for unregistered cards. Make sure you let us know as soon as you notice it’s gone so we can hotlist it. For more info go to Lost or Stolen Cards.
How do I tag on and off?

At the start and end of each journey, place your SmartRider card over the picture of the card on a card validator on the bus, on the ferry or at the train station. A beep and green light confirms a successful tag on or tag off. When you tag on, the card reader will display your remaining balance. When you tag off, the card validator will display the amount of the fare deducted and your remaining balance. 

Note: When catching a bus, passengers can only tag on at the front of the bus. If you tag on at a centre or rear door, you will receive a default fare. When alighting, customers can tag off at any door.

For more information go to Using SmartRider.

There are a number of ways to check your balance. Go to Check SmartRider Balance.
There are a number of ways you can register your SmartRider. For details go to Register SmartRider.
Autoload enables a direct debit to be made automatically from a nominated bank account or credit card to your SmartRider when the balance on your card falls below the low-value threshold of $6 for standard users and $3 for concession users. Register for Autoload through My Account
More information on Autoload can be found here.
If you have a Health Care Card or Pensioner Card you can provide proof of your concession entitlement by showing the card on your phone through Centrelink's Digital Wallet.
A pending action is a change/update that is waiting to be applied to your SmartRider.

Your SmartRider stores information including your concession status, Autoload status and card balance. When we need to update this information, a pending action is created so that the information on the card can be updated.

Pending actions are generally available to your SmartRider the day following their creation, except BPAY which can take several days to become available. For example if you activate Autoload online through My Account today Autoload will be available to be applied to your card tomorrow.

In order to update your card with this new information you are required to tag on. We recommend that you travel within a week of the pending action being created. Alternatively, if you do not need to travel, you can tag on, wait 15 seconds, and then tag off (preferably at any train station).

This will ensure that the update is applied to your SmartRider. If you do not travel/ tag on in the first week, or if it has been over two weeks since you last used the card, it is possible that the pending action will not be applied to your SmartRider on the first try. If this is the case please contact Transperth InfoLine at least one day prior to travelling again, or tag your SmartRider on and off over two to three consecutive days. 

Please contact the Transperth InfoLine (13 62 13) if you have trouble applying a pending action.
Autoload is designed to activate even if the card is new and you have no previous balance on the card, though unfortunately there can be instances where this doesn’t occur. If this happens to you please contact the InfoLine on 13 62 13 or visit an InfoCentre in Perth.
When you tag on under the low value threshold we will add the value of your Autoload onto your card immediately, under the assumption we will be able to get this value from your credit or debit card within the next 24-48 hours. If, for whatever reason, we are unable to access those funds your Autoload will be disabled and the value that was credited to your card will be removed.

In order to add value to your SmartRider balance, you will need to use alternative ‘add value’ methods until you can check your details and reactivate your Autoload.
The SmartRider system is currently a card based system, where the information from your travel is stored on your card. Unfortunately we are unable to keep the Transperth website and app immediately up to date with every transaction that occurs.

The system takes between 12 and 24 hours for your latest transactions and any changes to appear online.
No, this will simply mean that it is no longer linked to that particular My Account.

Any Autoload, SmartParker or Bike Shelter registrations will remain active on the SmartRider card.

If you would like to report your card as lost or stolen and have it hotlisted please contact the InfoLine on 13 62 13.
If you damage or lose your SmartRider you will need to order a new SmartRider.

You will need to go through the same process as when you received your initial SmartRider card.

For example, if your card was issued by your school you will need to speak to your school to order a new one. Or if you ordered your card through the online system you can also order your replacement here.
This expiry date relates to the concession entitlement to the student fare you receive while you are in high school. Once the expiry date passes your SmartRider will revert to a standard SmartRider and you will be charged standard fares.

Before this date you can apply to have a new concession on your card, such as a Health Care Card or tertiary concession if you are continuing your studies at an eligible institution
Service Updates