Thursday, July 23, 2009

Integrated ticketing: creeping closer

From the Auckland Regional Council:
ARC chairman (and Waiheke Islander) Mike Lee heaped praised on the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for achieving a break-through on integrated ticketing.
ARTA and NZTA today announced they will work with an experienced French company, Thales, to develop a system for Auckland’s buses, trains and ferries.
Mr Lee called integrated ticketing a “key piece in the public transport jigsaw” which would enable a quantum leap forward for Auckland public transport patronage.
“Seamless movement between trains, buses and ferries using a smartcard ticket will make public transport a much more attractive option for Aucklanders.”
ARTA began the tender process for the ticketing system last year but it was delayed by an NZTA review, instigated in part by a rival tenderer.
“While the delay has been disappointing, the system has now passed rigorous checks with flying colours – especially in terms of national application.”
“Because of this, the technical work carried out by ARTA and the tenderer is now being picked up by NZTA as the basis of a national integrated ticketing programme, which will allow regions throughout the country to share costs,” Mike Lee says.
“This is a great outcome.”
Central and local government are sharing the project costs.
In February, the ARC was looking at a capital investment of $32 million to fund the region’s share of the system, but Mr Lee said the final capital cost to Auckland ratepayers would now be very much reduced.
“Negotiations between the parties are still proceeding, so we are not at liberty to say how large the reduction will be.”
However, the reduction would be “significant”.
“Great news for public transport, great news for Auckland ratepayers.”
National application would be good as there is little to be gained from developing local unlinked systems when transport is integrated nationally.

My idea would be to have a cap on your weekly spend on your public transport needs, say $50, which you would load on your "Orca Card" and swipe with whatever transport company you want and need to use within the Auckland region. The ARTA would then become the card fare collector and distributor of the loot to the transport companies based on the swipes they collect. (An analogy would be Pharmac buying drugs in bulk and thus suppressing the cost to the end consumer). It would be a transparent system, easy to use, would not lock you in for a long period, and thus attract far more customers than currently use public transport.

1 comment:

Shirin Brown said...

That would be a win win for all I think but we still need to watch that Waiheke is included in that and not left out. Also an interesting knock on for Waiheke business - lots of daytrippers coming over to enjoy Waiheke.

One of the real challenges I feel though is how to have integrated ticketing which is not linked to a monthy pass. This would allow people who travel less frequently, to also do it affordably.

Well done Mike and ARTA and the C4FFF for making sure that ferries are included in the package.