A $98 million integrated ticketing system for Auckland is ready to go, but is being held up by Snapper and NZ Bus not installing the technology on more than 650 buses.
This has left Aucklanders – who have paid $42 million towards the system – waiting until November at the earliest to use a single card on buses, trains and ferries.
French technology giant Thales has completed a contract to install the new ticketing system and its New Zealand country director, Peter Beggs, has taken a swipe at Snapper, a sister company to NZ Bus, for delays.
On May 3, Mr Beggs told staff in an email – obtained by the Herald – that the “failure of Snapper to deliver a functional bus system that meets the ratified standard has caused delays to project go-live”.
The Thales contract was signed in late 2009 while the HOP card was officially launched more than a year ago now. If Snapper haven’t been able to get their act together in that time I have little hope that they’re doing anything more than running interference on the whole process and it seems unlikely they’ll be able to sort themselves out by November.
Auckland Transport are also running out of patience:
Within Auckland Transport, patience is running out with Snapper, NZ Bus and its investment company owners, Infratil, who together have been delaying Auckland’s integrated ticketing project from day one.
In March last year, the Snapper card was launched under the guise of being Auckland Transport’s Hop integrated ticket, but Snapper has failed to integrate its system to the Thales system on its 650 buses – and already missed one deadline to prove its system could link into the Thales system.
Last night, Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton said that after sitting down with Snapper and making changes to the transition, he had no reason to doubt the Wellington company would be ready to go live with the integrated ticketing system on November 30.
“We have no intention of having multiple systems. There will be one system that will be the NZTA New Zealand standard,” Mr Warburton said.
So what happens if Snapper can’t meet the deadline? It would be pretty amusing – although annoying in a sense as it would delay the project – if all the Snapper machines had to be ripped out of NZ Bus buses and replaced with machines that can actually do the job properly.