The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) Board has decided to establish a national ticketing programme for public transport and has approved funding for the development of the Auckland Regional Transport Authority’s integrated ticketing system as a first step, NZTA announced today.
Integrated ticketing allows passengers to travel across a city using different modes of public transport with a single ticket.
NZTA chair Brian Roche says the development of a national integrated ticketing system will maximise returns on future investments in public transport and deliver the best possible benefits for users.
Roche says the NZTA board had approved funding for the Auckland Integrated Fares System (AIFS), including the development of a core central ticketing system, one of its key requirements in a long process to select a supplier for the Auckland system project.
At a briefing yesterday, NZTA explained that the clearing house function of the core system, which allocates and manages payments to transport operators, would be provided by Thales, while a separate NZTA project would see the creation of a data warehouse into which integrated ticketing systems across the country, such as Wellington's Snapper system, would upload data for analysis and planning purposes.
The clearing house will be built for the Auckland system and then transfer to the NZTA to form the core of its national system.
Neither NZTA nor ARTA would not be drawn on the value of the project while commercial negotations with Thales remain unresolved. They are hoping to sing a contract for the project over the next month or so.
“This is a long term investment in the future of public transport for New Zealand. We are investing in a strategic asset that will provide a world-class integrated ticketing solution for Auckland and form the backbone of an efficient, high-quality and value for money national ticketing programme for public transport in New Zealand,” he says.
Computerworld reported NZTA was planning a national ticketing system last November.
Roche says control of the central system would give the NZTA a valuable source of data to inform future investments in public transport, and provide the ability to allow inter-operability and the option for multiple equipment suppliers and operators to participate in the system.
NZTA will be responsible for setting the technical standards for operation to be met by all equipment suppliers, transport operators and regional councils.
Roche says NZTA had worked closely with ARTA on the investigation of different delivery options since ARTA’s announcement of its preferred tenderer, French company Thales, in July. Thales beat Infratil's Snapper subsidiary to the deal. After Snapper complained, a probity review cleared the tender process.
“The Board is satisfied that the system being proposed by the preferred tenderer will provide an efficient, high-quality and value for money integrated ticketing solution for Auckland and for a national ticketing programme in the future,” says Roche
Roche says the funding approval is subject to a number of conditions, including the transfer of the rights to all of the integrated ticketing central system functions to the NZTA and a requirement for the NZTA. NZTA has provided ARTA with specific funding levels, however, details cannot be disclosed while ARTA’s negotiates with its preferred tenderer.
ARTA’s chairman, Rabin Rabindran, says ARTA is "delighted" with the news. ARTA will now finalise contract negotiations with Thales.
“This is a critical and long awaited next step for Auckland’s public transport system doing away with a multiplicity of ticket options and opening the door to greater ease of use for our customers with a single ticket," he says.
He says ARTA looks forward to assisting NZTA develop a national integrated ticketing system.