It has been a while since we heard anything about the progress of implementing Auckland’s integrated ticketing system, so it’s welcoming to see a media release by NZTA today saying that some progress is being made in the establishment of the national ticketing standards that will ensure inter-operability between all public transport smart-cards in New Zealand in the future.
Moves towards national integrated public transport ticketing have taken a big step forward with the development of a key agreement between the NZ Transport Agency and ticketing system providers.
The agreement paves the way for the creation of a set of national standards for integrated public transport ticketing.
NZ Transport Agency Group Manager of Regional Partnerships and Planning, Dave Brash says a wide range of industry representatives are participating in the development of the ticketing standards.
He says this is ensuring the best possible system for public transport consumers, transport operators, regional councils and the government.
“We can continue to move forward co-operatively to progress the creation of National Standards by the end of the year,” says Mr Brash.
“It’s important that we are able to work well with ticketing providers to establish a scheme within the overall national framework which creates a fair and level playing field for all parties,” he says
National operating standards define how the central core of a national system will function as well as how operator equipment such as on-board bus ticketing machines will interact with that system.
“This standards approach will enable us to establish a long-term integrated national system that regions throughout New Zealand can cost-effectively link into,” says Mr Brash.
Auckland will be the first region in New Zealand to adopt the national integrated ticketing system and it is anticipated that other regions will follow.
Mr Brash says national integrated ticketing is part of an overall strategy to establish a more efficient and effective public transport system. That is why it is a core part of NZTA’s leadership initiative in public transport.
“It opens the door to contestability on transport ticketing equipment while ensuring the development of a cost-effective, nationally-integrated system.”
The new national ticketing standard is being developed by the NZTA in consultation with industry players including transport operators and regional authorities.
Another big advantage of an integrated ticketing system will be the ability to easily collect common format strategic information about public transport usage. This will enable better long term planning and funding, which will result in a more efficient and cost-effective public transport system.
The national standards process is being assisted by Dutch specialists, Collis, who have also been involved with the development of other multi-modal integrated card systems in Europe and Dubai.
Organisations that are participating in the definition of the integrated ticketing standards are ARTA, Bus and Coach Association, Environment Canterbury, Electronic Ticketing Systems, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Init Pty Ltd, KiwiRail, Snapper, Thales, and HTS Group.
I’m not really sure about how excited I should be getting over all of this. It is certainly useful to hear that progress is being made on setting up the system to allow for nationwide ticketing, but what I really want to know answers to are more mundane questions, like the following:
- When will I be able to use the same ticket on all bus services in Auckland?
- When will I be able to use my bus pass on the train?
- When will I be able to board the bus without having to get the driver to press three buttons and for the whole exercise to take forever?
- When will I be able to get a free transfer from one bus to another, if both rides are within the same zone?
- When will I be able to get a free transfer between a bus and a train?
- When will I be able to top up my card over the internet, or automatically from my bank account so I never run out of stored value again?
Those are the questions that ARTA and NZTA really should be answering.