Snapper CEO 'sets the record straight'

Snapper is truly intermodal, says Miki Szikszai, as company launches taxi service

Snapper CEO Miki Szikszai is defending his company's Snapper Card technology after New Zealand Transport Agency CEO Geoff Dangerfield described it as a "bus-based stored value card".

Szikszai says Snapper is a true, multi-modal integrated ticketing system and has been used in Seoul, Korea, for at least five years on buses, trains and ferries.

"Obviously we need to have a chat with him," Szikszai says. "We have a different view of our capability."

On Wednesday, the NZTA outlined its vision of a standards-based national back end and clearing house that could be used by different regional integrated ticketing systems. At the same time, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), announced French firm Thales was its preferred provider for an integrated ticketing system for Auckland public transport.

Earlier that day, the NZTA released a report into the probity of the procurement process used by ARTA. Snapper had complained about bias, but the report found no wrongdoing. Snapper subsequently unreservedly accepted that finding.

Szikszai says the service delivered in Wellington is based around the policies of the operators and the local authorities. He says the service on the Valley Flyer bus service allows bus to bus transfers with a transfer discount being applied when a passenger boards a connecting bus.

Szikszai says that meets the definition of integrated ticketing.

The multi-modal part is not a technical issue, he says.

"All we need to know is what the fare policy is and how to implement it."

He says "tag on, tag off" as done on the Valley Flyer is actually a more complex problem.

Szikszai says Seoul is a true megacity and the integrated ticketing system there, using the same technology as Snapper, clocks 25 million transactions a day.

Snapper's technology was developed in Korea by LG and the Korean Smart Card Corporation (KSCC) and the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Snapper, an Infratil company, has the rights to that technology in Australia and New Zealand.

Szikszai says Snapper transactions are cleared through the same Korean system, but this function can easily be transferred to New Zealand.

Yesterday, Snapper announced that it was extending Snapper to around 1000 taxis in Wellington through a new partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council. This is primarily to assist Wellington's disabled community to easily get around the region quickly and without paper vouchers.

Snapper saysd it is targeting the fully integrated taxi service to launch in early 2010 in partnership with credential management company Eyede NZ and taxi biller TaxiCharge NZ.

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