You really do have to read the Auckland Transport board papers quite carefully to pick up on the important things – including a lot of “reading between the lines”. Here’s a classic example, from the business report to Monday’s meeting, in relation to the rollout of integrated ticketing:
Go-Live date prior to 30th November was confirmed for Rail and Ferry services, the Bus services will follow
This is almost the worst sentence I have ever read in the history of anything, because it is completely unclear. But what it seems we can assume is that the HOP card will be in place by November 30th for Rail and Ferry services – but who knows when for buses. It could be shortly afterwards, it could be next year, it could be in 20 years time for all the progress we’ve made so far on integrated ticketing in Auckland!
Reading this statement reminded me that quite recently Auckland Transport CEO David Warburton reassured us all that HOP would most definitely be up and running on NZ Bus services by that magic date of November 30th. Here’s the article actually:
Although the deadline has been progressively pushed out to November 30, Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton says he has no reason to doubt that Snapper will be ready to plug into the integrated system by that date.
As the article above suggests, the November 30th deadline (which now won’t even be met by the sounds of it) is a delay from the original timetable.
Back in January, the NZ Herald was reporting that the current Snapper/HOP cards would need to be replaced by the “proper” HOP cards, for implementation around the middle of the year:
From the middle of this year, the Hop cards will have to be replaced at an undisclosed cost to Auckland Transport by upgraded versions suitable for all forms of public transport using the Thales system.
These include trains, ferries and bus services such as Northern Express operator Ritchies Transport, Howick and Eastern, Birkenhead Transport, Urban Express and Bayes Coachlines.
Yet even that “middle of 2012″ date was a delay from previous estimates. In April last year, Brian Rudman reported the following around timeframes for the “proper HOP card” as being “later this year” (2011):
Once the Thales system is up and running this year, the game will be played by Auckland Transport’s rules. That’s when a zonal system comes into being covering all modes of public transport, and users will be able to switch from train to bus to ferry and have the combo fare calculated and deducted instantly from their Hop card. At that stage the all-important float – the prepaid fares for the coming month – will be in the hands of Auckland Transport, not Snapper, the interest from this substantial pot of money helping to fund the whole operation.
If the November 30th deadline can’t be met for implementation of absolutely everything, then I think it’s time heads started to roll over this. It’s turning into a farce.