Further detail on the painfully slow implementation of integrated ticketing in Auckland was outlined in the October business report to the board of Auckland Transport. With the project being somewhat distracted by the silly A-Pass over the past few months, hopefully with the World Cup out of the way we might start seeing some real progress in the next few months: There are two interesting things to note in the paragraph above, first is that in February next year we will start to see something of a further rollout – with what’s called the “Limited Functionality Pilot”. From what I know (mainly from information provided by Thales at a couple of Campaign for Better Transport meetings over the past year) this is likely to involve a pretty basic system across NZ Bus services and trains, allowing stored value use on both the bus and train. Effectively what we have now on the HOP card will be able to be used on the trains (though still no confirmation from Auckland Transport over whether we’ll need to swap our current HOP card for a new one).
The second interesting matter to note is that there’s no set ‘completion date’ noted in the business report, just that the core system rollout will be from mid-2012. That word ‘from’ is quite concerning, as I was under the impression that by the middle of next year we would have a smartcard able to be used on all buses, trains and ferries in Auckland, even if more complexity fare issues (like whether we have fare-capping, whether we shift to zone based ticketing and so forth) will occur at a later stage. Hopefully Auckland Transport provide some clarification on these dates in the relatively near future.
On the subject of the A-Pass, which seems to have been put in place largely for political reasons (the embarrassment of not having an integrated ticket during the World Cup), the Business Report has a bit more information on the popularity of this ticket:
At the time of writing 1228 special A-Passes had been sold to RWC visitors. Over half of those (57%) were purchased through the ticket office at Britomart. Initial expectations were that the pass would be utilised for ferry travel in particular. However, use has been highest on bus (70%), followed by ferry (23%) and rail (7%), indicating that visitors have been travelling outside of the inner CBD during their time in Auckland.
A-Pass sales are highest on match days, suggesting that people are sightseeing as part of the overall match-day experience. Other significant sales periods are one day either side of matches.
A graph showing the sales volumes is also provided: I do hope the A-Pass was useful in helping test the systems for integrated ticketing, as opposed to just delaying the rollout of the HOP card onto trains, ferries and other bus companies.