Jon C at Auckland Trains has done an excellent post on the fiasco that Auckland’s integrated ticketing project is becoming, with Infratil using every dirty trick in the book trying to win the integrated ticketing contract, even though:
- ARTA announced in July that they had awarded the contract to Thales.
- NZTA’s review of ARTA’s previous decision to award the contract to Thales found that decision was sound.
- Infratil themselves accepted that decision.
The main arguments Infratil, through its subsidiary Snapper, are putting up is that they can deliver the system faster and cheaper than Thales can. While this may well be true, I do suspect that there must be a number of good reasons why ARTA (in detailed consultation with NZTA) chose to award the contract to Thales rather than Infratil not once, but twice. Infratil is effectively asking us to trust them rather than ARTA or NZTA. To trust that they can roll out an integrated ticketing system in Auckland when they haven’t managed it in Wellington yet (try using your Snapper Card on the train there); to trust them that it won’t be a conflict of interest between Infratil running the ticketing system through Snapper and a big chunk of the bus system through NZ Bus; to trust them that the system they do roll out in Auckland is a true smart-card and not the kind of “souped up Go-Rider” that regular commenter on this blog Jeremy Harris termed the Snapper Card after his most recent visit to Wellington; and finally, to trust them to actually deliver on this project compared to the proven track record of Thales.
Given that Infratil is the very same company that had such little respect for users of Auckland’s public transport system that they suspended all bus services for a whole week simply because the drivers threatened to work to the letter of their contracts, I think I trust Infratil about as far as I can throw them.
Which certainly isn’t very much.