Snapper makes last-gasp bid for Auckland ticketing deal

Snapper makes one last push as contract is expected to be awarded to rival

Infratil's smartcard ticketing business Snapper is taking one last tilt at winning a contract to supply integrated ticketing for Auckland public transport.

 

Snapper chief executive Miki Szikszai says Snapper can work with the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) to have integrated ticketing on 90 percent of Auckland’s buses, trains and ferries by the time the Rugby World Cup kicks off.

Snapper says it can offer Auckland $70 million in saving against the cost of developing its own integrated ticketing system.

Sziksai says the offer in today's release was originally made in April, but has not been acknowledged.

Last year, Snapper was widely reported to have failed in its bid to French provider Thales. ARTA has since announced Thales as its preferred supplier.

The system will include automated gates, smartcard readers on buses and ferries, smartcard reload devices at selected rail and bus stations and ferry wharves, and the supply of computer hardware, software, networks and communications, ARTA says.

“ARTA should be congratulated for making integrated ticketing a priority in Auckland. It is the way the world is going, but things have moved very fast since they called for tenders in 2007 to have their own system developed, and set a budget of $135 million,” says Szikszai.

However, ARTA has since trimmed that budget and restructured the way the project is to be funded. Transit New Zealand is needed to provide 60 percent of the funding. Transit meets tomorrow to make its funding decision on the project, which now has a capital cost of $50 million, The Dominion Post reported on Monday. Operating costs are put at around $5 million a year.

"Our costs cover everything for 10 years including bus operators kit. We can do this because we have an open platform, unlike what ARTA seek to procure, Sziksai says.

Sziksai says ARTA recently briefed operators that they would have to buy their own equipment on the buses and ferries. He estimates that will add another $15 million to the bill.

 

“Snapper is on such a roll, it now makes no sense for ARTA to contemplate incurring the significant costs and risks of developing its own system. Melbourne and Sydney have been going down this route for years with hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns and legal actions, but have yet to get comprehensive systems of the ground," Sziksai warns.

 

“The new offer we have made to ARTA today is that they need pay no up-front costs at all. Snapper’s IT systems are up and running and comfortably processing millions of transactions already. We can easily cover Auckland."

Szikszai says ARTA could accept the new Snapper offer and still involve its preferred tenderer, the French armaments company Thales, in aspects of the scheme, if it wished. He says Snapper Services has asked for early discussions with ARTA and NZTA.

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