Snapper to join Thales in Auckland integrated ticketing project

Ticketing providers to work together, despite past rivalry

Integrated ticketing provider Snapper is to participate in Auckland Transport’s integrated ticketing project, despite appealing the awarding of the contract for the project to rival vendor Thales in 2008.

At an announcement in Auckland today, Snapper was named as the first third-party vendor that will utilise the Thales system, which is currently being built. The Thales system’s open architecture allows other ticketing operators’ systems to integrate with it.

The collaboration between Snapper and Thales is a far cry from December 2008, when Snapper raised concerns with the then-Transport Minister about the way the Auckland Regional Transport Authority conducted the tender.

In May 2009, the New Zealand Transport Agency, in a report, found that the tender had been properly conducted.

Proof that Snapper has moved on was evident at the announcement function, where, speaking to Computerworld, Snapper CEO Miki Szikszai said of the 2008 appeal: “We called for an inquiry, it came out against us, and we never disputed that.”

The focus now is on working with Thales on the project, he said.

“When you start looking at the overall objective, it becomes pretty important for all parties to work together. Auckland Transport invited us into the process.”

At today’s announcement, Thales program director Mick Spiers said: “This is a very important milestone in the delivery of integrated ticketing to Auckland.

“Snapper’s involvement is a vindication of Thales’ open architecture. The purpose of the open architecture is to allow third parties to use the system and Snapper is the first. We expect there will be others.”

The collaboration between Snapper and Thales will allow passengers on bus operator NZ Bus’s Auckland buses - which will install Snapper smart card readers next year - to use the same ticket on its buses and other public transport systems in the city.

Train and ferry passengers will be also be able to use the same ticket for trips across all three modes of transport before next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The final Auckland Transport integrated ticket won’t be ready then, but a special intermediate ticket will be ready for the World Cup.

The brand and name of the integrated ticket will be announced early next year.

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