If there is one issue we have noticed gets people more wound up than anything else on this site it is Integrated Ticketing and understandingly so. The CRL, Electrification and other projects are great but for most day to day users but the one thing that directly effects every single PT user (or potential user) is the ticketing and fares system. As part of my recent OIA request I have had copies of the papers that have gone to the NZTA board meeting giving updates on the project which sheds some interesting information on the subject. Each of the papers are below (the update was in the middle of some of them hence the other stuff in them)
The first thing I noticed when I took a skim through the reports was this comment in the summary of the key risks in every single report which suggests that both the NZTA and AT are pretty concerned NZ Bus/Snapper are not going to do what they agreed to. Hopefully the recent media attention including Gerry Brownlee’s comments will help to ensure they stay on track.
Novembers update gives an indication on some of the pressures being placed on the project and despite assurances by AT that Snapper would not delay things, it seems that it wasn’t the case.
The AIFS programme is progressing steadily and to plan. There are some cost and time pressures, as a result of unanticipated changes in the scope of the implementation work,and NZTA is working through funding options with AT:
- The AIFS programme needs additional people to keep the programme on schedule. This is as a result of the extra workload incurred in supporting the Snapper implementation and integration earlier this year. This effort has absorbed greater resource than originally scoped and may continue to exert upward cost pressure in the later stages of the AIFS programme.
- There is a need to upgrade some of the rail platform vending machines due to safety and customer service level issues, which result from platform configuration changes associated with the rail electrification work.
We are supporting AT in resolving the resource and funding issues and note these changes are circumstantial, and not the result of mismanagement by AT or Thales.
In December you get the feeling that the NZTA and AT were getting more comfortable following on from the confirmation that Parkeon had signed up to supply the other bus companies with equipment. The issues raised above in November appear to have been resolved but there is then this interesting bit of info. That might also explain why Infratil have gone so quiet on Snapper in their monthly updates.
February’s report is where we first start getting the news that the wheels are starting to fall of the Snapper piece of work as well as what some of those issues are. Having issues with data use and commercial sensitivity seems like a pretty serious problem to me but not one that I am going to suggest it was intentional. It does highlight one of the key reasons why AT and then the NZTA went with Thales in the first place, to have the system independent from the operators.
The other really interesting thing from Feb is news that the Office of the Auditor General are looking into integrated ticketing with a report due mid 2012. I will definitely be looking out for that.
The Office of the Auditor General have advised that they will be conducting a “special study” on the AIFS programme and related matters, starting in early 2012. This is part of a new pro-active approach by the OAG in areas of considerable public interest. The study is due to report to Parliament in mid 2012
March has similar information on the project and the only only really new bit is in regard to rail operations post integrated ticketing, it has this to say:
This post isn’t intended to be an attack on Snapper but it just so happens that they seem to be the key issue that keeps cropping up that could prevent the project from being successful. I do really hope that Snapper, AT and the NZTA are able to resolve these issues for the good of the city.