Follow us on Twitter

In come the Lawyers

TVNZ is reporting that the lawyers have been called in by Auckland Transport regarding the whole Snapper/HOP debacle as it is becoming more and more clear that NZ Bus and Snapper will not make the November 30 deadline. There isn’t really anything new for regular readers of the blog with the exception of the lawyer angle and that indicates that things are escalating.  Of course what we don’t know is what will happen if/when the deadline isn’t met and from a users perspective that is probably the most important.

Click the picture to go to the video on the TVNZ site

Note: This is being posted for only because it has been picked up by the MSM. In this post I’m not interested in debates about things like whether Parkeon is behind or not so please only discuss the specific issues raised in the video as I will lock the comments of the thread otherwise.

69 comments to In come the Lawyers

  • Andrew

    In response to Gerry Brownlee’s “they’re off the run” POV, I think that might be too disruptive.

    Personally I think that NZ Bus should still be required to continue to run its buses past November 30 as per its contracts, but it can only take HOP fares on the new system from that date.

    i.e. if they don’t have proper HOP interop in place by then, they can’t charge HOP cardholders for trips but still have to provide them.

    Even the, um, “financial incentive” of something like that happening should get NZ Bus and its parent and sister companies scrambling to make sure they’re ready by November 30, even if it means going as far as replacing the Snapper gear – otherwise the loss of revenue to NZ Bus/Infratil etc would be staggering.

    Of course that’s assuming the current contractual arrangements, if they fail to be met, allow for something like that to happen.

    • James Pole

      I think your idea is pretty good. I suspect AT may have a contingency plan. So far I have survived two major NZ Bus strikes and ARTA have both times been pretty good at organising extra train/bus/ferry capacity (though I agree that they did not manage to meet *all* the demand). AT may very well already be in talks with alternative providers to ensure that if they do go down that route, they can execute a ‘plan of attack’ so to speak. Also don’t forget that by 30 November most high school and university students will not be going to classes so AT could work with providers to reallocate equipment to routes in need of capacity — for example they could cancel or reduce frequencies on routes that mainly cater for school/uni students to provide some sort of limited service on NZ Bus routes. I am sick of NZ Bus and Snapper getting a slap on the hand with a wet NZ Bus ticket (pardon the pun) — they need to get on with it and face the consequences if they don’t.

    • Harvey Specter

      I ahve always said kicking them off the road is an idle threat since they are 65% of Auckland’s buses and cant be replaced quickly. I have though removing their subsidy was better but yours also has merit.

      It was always good in London when the Oyster Card readers didn’t work as you didn’t have to paid for bus transport, just flash the card and they had to wave you on (I was normally on a monthly pass so it was included anyway but sometimes I was prepay.)

  • I surmise that AT in saying they are ‘calling in the lawyers’, is in fact to put more public pressure on Snapper/ Infratil to comply with the contract Ts and Cs. They would have sought legal advice on contract compliance some time back. This is only putting into the public arena now what they’ve been saying to Snapper for some time in private – to ‘quit dreaming and get on the beam!’.

  • George

    You really think a company that can handle mobile phone payments, and already has a fully functioning ticketing system, would have any problems dealing with simple bus card transactions?

    Please.

    • James Pole

      For some reason I don’t think you’re describing Snapper there! Fully functioning ticketing system?! Mobile phone payments?! I have yet to see either here in Auckland. Even Go Rider was better — at least it did monthly passes for example which is the ticketing product I use most often. And the 2degree/Snapper Mobile Payment thing is just a short-term fad I think. I suspect that the long-term success story for NFC payments will be a standard system (most likely operated by a independent third-party) which all operators and financial institutions will participate in. The cosy 2degrees/Snapper team is a long way from that ideal I’m afraid…

  • Publius

    For once Auckland Council and Govt are on the same side. There is no way Infratil can win this.
    That said I don’t believe Gerry Brownlee’s quote of “they’re off the run” is in anyway true. He is a politician and makes good headlines but almost never are they based on fact. Probably the reason this has got this far without Infratil giving in is because whatever contracts they have with AT don’t allow them to be canceled for this reason.
    Complete speculation on my part but i would guess that NZ Bus contract with AT reads that AT have to pay for the cost of any “integrated” ticket system above the basic per-bus-operator ticking systems. When Infratil lost the National integrated ticketing contract, they spun a story to AT about they would upgrade their buses for free to Snapper as long as they got to do it quick before Thales rolled out, AT says sweet we can save $, and now Infratil say oops our systems aren’t compatible with Thales after all (or Thales make theirs incompatible with ours), now you got to pay $ as per contact which AT weren’t budgeting on. Just speculation but thats how i interpret between the lines.
    Interesting times.

  • Yes, there’s defininately more to this than meets they eye here. Something just doesn’t sound right. I hope this is not a huge bulls up on the part of AT, and Snapper/NZ Bus are the scape goats. I’m sure I’m wrong on that. Shall be interesting to see where this goes. It’s rare these kind of things make it onto national news in NZ, so shows how important it is.

    • Louis

      NZ Bus won’t be the scapegoats. If there are failiures then the blame will ultimately be directed at AT. I do agree AT have made errors but clearly a large amount of responsibility falls on Infratil.

      • Joshua

        Yes AT/NZTA made errors, the biggest was giving into Infratil (NZ Bus & Snapper), everyone on this blog and over at AKT were all suspecting this sort of outcome, but obviously hoping we were wrong.

  • Deep trouble for Auckland transport ticketing
    By Mathew Dearnaley
    5:30 AM Tuesday Jun 26, 2012
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10815481

    “There are concerns about the delays in making the technology compliant with the Hop ticketing project on about 650 buses. Photo / APN
    Auckland’s $98 million public transport ticketing project is in deep trouble, with an admission that a technology supplier to the Super City’s largest bus fleet expects to miss a crucial deadline.

    Concern about delays by Snapper Services, supplier of cards and machine readers to its sister company NZ Bus, in making the technology compliant with the Hop ticketing project on about 650 buses has exploded into a strong ultimatum from Auckland Transport lawyers.

    The council body says it is suffering significant costs because of Snapper’s failure to deliver a side deal to an $87 million supply and operations contract with French technology giant Thales, which has completed its major part of the long-awaited project ahead of time.

    Labour’s transport spokesman, Phil Twyford, blames the “shambles” – disclosed by a letter sent to Snapper by Auckland Transport’s lawyers – on Government interference that let the company work on the scheme despite failing to win the main contract…”

    I think this is all very conclusive that the “concerns” of a certain individual commenting on this blog were nothing more than astroturfing to try and mitigate the fallout from this mess.

    • Ben

      From the NBR just now http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/infratil-defends-snapper-against-auckland-transport-claims-wb-122042

      BUSINESSDESK: Infratil, the investment infrastructure firm, has defended its Snapper unit against Auckland Transport’s claims it will miss the deadline to integrate its contactless card with the city’s public transport network.

      Snapper, the card payments system used on Infratil’s commuter buses, received a notice from Auckland Transport on June 18 alleging it had breached the terms of the participation agreement, along with a claim for damages.

      “The basis of these claims has not been clarified and the notice incorporates a number of significant errors and inaccuracies,” Snapper Services chairwoman Rhoda Phillippo said.

      “Infratil and Snapper strongly refute the allegations made and we will make our response to the detailed claims known as appropriate.”

  • There have obviously been stuff-ups here – both financial and contractual, but now that things are down to the wire, if its takes NZ$1-2 million (Infratil has to put its money where its mouth is) to get the AKL integrated ticket project completed and working properly, then so be it. Infratil is now learning that when you play politics like they have, you end up paying for it – big time.

  • There are number of reasons.

    1. Previous transport minister Steven Joice was too to Infratil (owns Snapper). Infratil pimped Mr. Joyce by influencing AT and said the funding will be cancelled if Snapper is not allowed. Mr. Joyce is nothing other than a stupid guy who doesn’t understand anything other than “talking the talk”. Steven Stupid Joyce should take responsibility. A legal complaint should be put against him

    2. There is no leadership at Auckland Transport to deliver this project. Its run by a bunch of chiefs with thick pay packet – with more than 50% of staff receiving more than $150k per annum. These managers fail to make decisions on time. They are fan of last minute decisions. For example they spent millions of dollars on two pilot phases of project with literally no use. They pulled out the second pilot after spending millions! Too many managers believing in Mythical Man Month – they dont run a project. They just “work on something”.

    3. Snapper is not the only one responsible for this melodrama. They over promise and underperform, but they are quick in responding. People portray Snapper is responsible for everything. Simple reality is that they have moving goal post. No tight requirements with clear input and output. This is AT’s responsibility and they fail to do it. How can Snapper spend millions of dollars developing something that is still evolving? Agree on a baseline and then somebody should pay for the changes – isnt it simple logic on cost based project?

    4. Snapper doesn’t have any financial incentives to deliver this project. They spend millions to take out their revenue stream. Literally. Now they get 5c for processing every transaction from NZ Bus. Once Thales processes the transaction, they don’t get it. So what’s the incentive?

    5. Parkeon who works with the consortium of bus companies (Ritchies, Birkenhead etc.) were also penned to deliver the project in October this year. That plan remained in paper and NO (i mean NO) development on that side. That side is stalled as Parkeon underestimated the amount of work to comply with Auckland requirements

    6. NITIS – National Standards in Ticketing is just a copy of Thales solution. Its just rebranded as National Standards. NITIS is an evolving document and doesn’t have enough information. And people expect Snapper and Parkeon to develop a Thales solution.

    7. Don’t be surprised if Train gets delayed too. In its current architecture, Thales cannot handle all train journeys.

    8. Thales doesn’t provide any support to System Integration. Thales is like a Tortoise too thick shell moving at 5cm/hour. Even if its an high attention issue, their response time is 2 months. No thinking from customer view, just what’s written in a 7 year old contract! World is in 2012 and Thales is in 1990.

    9. Project has too many working groups and steering groups. But there are nop groups that actually does any “work” or “Steering”. No target groups. No solution focus. This is meeting based project management! Hah!

    10. Change management failure. Ask fullers or veolia or NZ Bus or Ritchies or wider Auckland Transport if they know anything about the project. Most of the stakeholders are not informed at the right level. People think its their job! but “who” is that “they”!

    11. Lack of Quick and Practical decision making. If something doesn’t work and you know it 8 months ahead, communicate it.

    12. Reality is that Snapper or Parkeon cannot deliver an Auckland Solution for another year. Best case scenario is that a full bus solution will be in November 2013 .. Possible case June 2014! (yes 2013 and 2014). Well people know the truth, but AT won’t accept it.
    Well, Thales might secretly come back to Auckland bus solution world (surprise!).

  • Josh, you seem to know quite a bit about this project. Are you working for one of the companies involved?

  • Joshua

    Too good to ignore, sorry for long post…

    “There are number of reasons.

    1. Previous transport minister Steven Joice was too to Infratil (owns Snapper). Infratil pimped Mr. Joyce by influencing AT and said the funding will be cancelled if Snapper is not allowed. Mr. Joyce is nothing other than a stupid guy who doesn’t understand anything other than “talking the talk”. Steven Stupid Joyce should take responsibility. A legal complaint should be put against him”

    A bit far…but yes Steven Joyce was influenced by Snapper and therefore gave in to there pressure and allowed them to go ahead. However Snapper were the ones pulling wool over his eyes so they are not innocent.

    “2. There is no leadership at Auckland Transport to deliver this project. Its run by a bunch of chiefs with thick pay packet – with more than 50% of staff receiving more than $150k per annum. These managers fail to make decisions on time. They are fan of last minute decisions. For example they spent millions of dollars on two pilot phases of project with literally no use. They pulled out the second pilot after spending millions! Too many managers believing in Mythical Man Month – they dont run a project. They just “work on something”.”

    AT got pushed out by the Government, nothing they can do there…

    “3. Snapper is not the only one responsible for this melodrama. They over promise and underperform, but they are quick in responding. People portray Snapper is responsible for everything. Simple reality is that they have moving goal post. No tight requirements with clear input and output. This is AT’s responsibility and they fail to do it. How can Snapper spend millions of dollars developing something that is still evolving? Agree on a baseline and then somebody should pay for the changes – isnt it simple logic on cost based project?”

    Requirement seem pretty clear to me, here are the standards and this is when you have to meet them. Do snapper need someone to hold their hand??

    “4. Snapper doesn’t have any financial incentives to deliver this project. They spend millions to take out their revenue stream. Literally. Now they get 5c for processing every transaction from NZ Bus. Once Thales processes the transaction, they don’t get it. So what’s the incentive?”

    Which brings to the question why snapper fought so hard to get into this position when this was always going to be the case, no-body was hiding the fact. But agree there needs to be financial incentives…actually they are going to realise these very soon by the looks of things – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10815481

    “5. Parkeon who works with the consortium of bus companies (Ritchies, Birkenhead etc.) were also penned to deliver the project in October this year. That plan remained in paper and NO (i mean NO) development on that side. That side is stalled as Parkeon underestimated the amount of work to comply with Auckland requirements”

    Do you have proof of this? It isn’t October yet. Also they are not causing the replacement of over 100,000 HOP Cards and the possible confusion of having two systems in place. Although if AT structure things possible, NZ Bus may just loose revenue from anyone who has swapped there HOP card instead of having two systems.

    “6. NITIS – National Standards in Ticketing is just a copy of Thales solution. Its just rebranded as National Standards. NITIS is an evolving document and doesn’t have enough information. And people expect Snapper and Parkeon to develop a Thales solution.”

    After reading through the standards, they are certainly clear with the requirement they are required to meet. Seeing that Thales won the tender it would make sense that it is a copy of their solution as they were the party contracted to create the standards, eg. part of there job was these standards.

    “7. Don’t be surprised if Train gets delayed too. In its current architecture, Thales cannot handle all train journeys.”

    What does Thales have anything to do with the running of the trains??????? It’s a ticketing system that is fully paid for before entering the trains, it’s going to have no effect on train departure times.

    If you are talking about the implementation of HOP onto trains this has already been slowed down thanks to Snapper, not Thales.

    “8. Thales doesn’t provide any support to System Integration. Thales is like a Tortoise too thick shell moving at 5cm/hour. Even if its an high attention issue, their response time is 2 months. No thinking from customer view, just what’s written in a 7 year old contract! World is in 2012 and Thales is in 1990.”

    ??? What are you trying to say, Thales is the reason our Public Transport is going to be integrated, it’s the reason why they won the contract and why they were selected above snapper. They have successful integrated systems overseas as proof, where snapper doesn’t. Although Snapper is bases on overseas technology.

    “9. Project has too many working groups and steering groups. But there are nop groups that actually does any “work” or “Steering”. No target groups. No solution focus. This is meeting based project management! Hah!”

    ? Doesn’t signify a response ?

    “10. Change management failure. Ask fullers or veolia or NZ Bus or Ritchies or wider Auckland Transport if they know anything about the project. Most of the stakeholders are not informed at the right level. People think its their job! but “who” is that “they”!”

    Again proof or source?? Veolia would not be the best company to ask, they have been making a mess of our train operations for years, fullers are already to go with HOP once this issue is sorted and Ritchies are currently employing Parkeon to complete there works. Wider Auckland Transport are running the project.

    “11. Lack of Quick and Practical decision making. If something doesn’t work and you know it 8 months ahead, communicate it.”

    Was that aimed at Snapper?? Cause it’s there system that’s not working although the promised it would.

    “12. Reality is that Snapper or Parkeon cannot deliver an Auckland Solution for another year. Best case scenario is that a full bus solution will be in November 2013 .. Possible case June 2014! (yes 2013 and 2014). Well people know the truth, but AT won’t accept it.”

    Source?? As far as I know that will be costing Snapper a lot of money, enough for Infratil to go broke if it takes them that long. I would hope that AT wont accept it!!!

    “Well, Thales might secretly come back to Auckland bus solution world (surprise!).”

    The bus operators have always been able to chose to use Thales equipment, but that is entirely up to them, if there solutions are able to work with the Thales back system there is no need.

    • Just to make sure everyone’s clear. I am neither the “Josh” or the “Joshua” who have posted above.

    • Yes Joshua, i agree – proof of such claims is certainly required at this juncture, as there is many a grey area still.

    • Hamish O

      You make some fair points as rebuts Joshua, but it seems to me, as Rob Mayo asked about above, that Josh may have some ‘inside’ connections with either Parkeon, Snapper or Thales (who I don’t know), and this may be the reason he can’t provide any actual proof for Parkeon being behind. Personally I’m not sure if he really does know anything we don’t or not, but this could be the reason for his brief, yet certainly phrased points regarding any failings in the implementation aside from Snapper. Obviously more evidence is needed before me make any new assumptions though.

  • Admin Josh, I dont think that for one minute any of us thought it was you posting under the aforementioned J names.

  • Stu Donovan

    I disown any stupid comments made under my name; it was actually some other guy with exactly the same name as me ;).

  • Snapper have responded to the alleged breaches of the Auckland integrated ticketing participation agreement with a press release available on Scoop.

    On 18th June 2012, Snapper received a notice from Auckland Transport, alleging various breaches of the participation agreement and a claim for damages. The basis of these claims has not been clarified and the notice incorporates a number of significant errors and inaccuracies. Infratil and Snapper strongly refute the allegations made and we will make our response to the detailed claims known as appropriate.

    The release contains a useful outline of the players involved and, at the risk of having this thread locked, also calls into question the readiness of another supplier, Parkeon.

    • Hamish O

      “calls into question the readiness of another supplier, Parkeon”

      Sorry if this comes across as a silly question, but how exactly is that?

      • Based on this comment:

        Working with the other bus companies who service the remainder is Parkeon as an additional supplier – it is unclear when Parkeon will achieve the required equipment and system standards.

        That’s not really calling their readiness into question, it’s just an admission that Infratil has no idea whether Parkeon is on track or not. (I would like to call Infratil’s grammar into question however!)

        Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong but it sounds like Infratil muddying the waters with some weasel words.

    • Harvey Specter

      This is the key sentence:

      “Both the national standard and Auckland Transport’s implementation plan are still subject to change.”

      I cant see how Parkeon can do what it needs to do till this is finalised.

      Likewise for Snapper. The question is whether Snapper is the reason why the standard and the plan are still subject to change. That is the inference from AT, though Snapper obviously denies.

      This needs to be locked down so all parties involved can do what they need to do.

  • Matt L

    I think the only thing that is clear is that this whole saga is going to get much messier before it starts to get sorted

  • Joshua, Joshua.

    What, my friend, does Snapper have to do with rail in Auckland?
    Observe, my friend, that the Snapper system – with a cute Hop sticker on it -has been working in Auckland for some time now. The ability to read one more – very basic – card is childs play.
    Know, my friend, that a certain organisation may be in panic mode. That organisation is not Snapper.

    Josh is worth reading. Well, some of it, anyway.

    • George mate- Its not that simple. Snapper uses JCOP and Thales (and national standard) is on DesFire.. Only similarity is that both are plastic cards.. Under the hood, both works differently. Snapper in essence is building a Thales solution by complying to DesFire world. complex, complex and complex!! Simply put, Snapper doesnt have the ability to do it in time.

      Agree that Snapper is not the only one to blame. AT fails, Thales fails, Parkeon fails, and none of the bus companies are engaged to the solution.. Joshua mentioned project is run by wider Auckland Transport – very diplomatic statement. Its run by few blind people.

      But if AT goes to court to sue Snapper, Snapper will fire back with delays caused by AT. They have enough firearm left to shoot few heads in AT. AT need to panic. Its time to press 111.

  • Rob

    Well said George.

    In response to Josh’s post – I will say this, while slightly oversimplifying what is an exceedingly technical and complex project – in essence most of what he is saying correct is given what I have heard from the inside.

    1. AT are the system integrator and they have sat on their hands and done NOTHING – they are incompetent.

    2. NZTA is the standard setter (NITIS) and they have NO clue. The standards are NOT finished – and Joshua – if you knew anything about IT development you would know that if the standard you are developing to is unstable then those that are developing to it stand to risk a large amount of $$$$ if things are changed at the last minute (which has happened, and will happen again).

    3. Parkeon are nowhere and are getting a free ride, no chance they will be ready in time.

    4. Thales system is average and will be obsolete before it is even implemented properly. They are laughing all the way to the bank.

    5. Snapper shouldn’t have been allowed into Auckland in the first place, but that’s been and gone. They should be just cut loose.

    As I said in a previous post – heads should roll at AT, NZTA and the Government – this is the most blatant cover-up of complete ineptitude that I have seen in a long time. Panic has set in and they (being AT, NZTA and Thales) are not afraid of pointing the blame at anyone but themselves.

    • Ben

      Shit I am so sticking my neck back out but Rob is right. Didnt that Tory from London came out recently saying London was ditching Oyster to a system like using your bank card as your transport card? I am digging through an old post of mine, http://voakl.net/2012/02/21/brian-rudman-snapper-may-have-missed-the-boat-business-nz-herald-news/ with further linksmto Rudman’s and Matt L’s piece on snapper earlier this year.

      Remind me one day to give a nice personal story on this saga…

      • Very true. Smartcard based payment system is obsolete. Singapore already moved onto credit card based payment system. Snapper’s NFC solution is just a cover up. They just created an app that simulates the plastic card. Actual NFC implementation needs customised SIM card with transport application running virtually on it. If you heard Telecom/Thales/Auckland Transport is trialling NFC, ignore it – nothing other than politics in response to Snapper press release. Three companies doesn’t know any details at this stage.

        • Scott

          It would be great if the payment system could just link to paypass / tap and go credit cards. One less card to carry. No need to top up, and most people already carry credit cards so no need to spend lots of money subsidizing and distributing transport cards.

          When i was in Singapore recently I used a smart card, it worked well, but I liked the Hong Kong one better.

    • All points valid! Well said

    • Hamish O

      This is all such a mess.
      I can’t believe Auckland was able to start from scratch but has mucked it up so much.

      When (and if) this is ever all over there needs to be a serious review into how we managed this, as there is a lot of blame to be allocated.

      Unfortunately the culprit is PT in Auckland, and with it being in the mainstream media now I fear it is only painting an uglier and uglier picture for our potential PT users.

      Why?????????????

    • Joshua

      “and Joshua – if you knew anything about IT development you would know that if the standard you are developing to is unstable then those that are developing to it stand to risk a large amount of $$$$ if things are changed at the last minute”

      Don’t know much about IT, but I do about construction and business in general, your statement rings true no matter what industry you talk about.

  • Louis

    “has received no funding from Auckland Transport or NZTA.” This statement must be incorrect. Surely the HOP staff that were employed to change over from GO RIDER to Snapper as well as the PR campaign and the branding on the cards was all paid for by AT/

  • Hamish O

    In one new’s follow-on report tonight they didn’t even mention the huge unlikeness of AT actually cancelling 65% of all Auckland’s buses, considering the huge disruption it would cause. I would hope the public has enough sense to not take Gerry seriously – because NZ Bus (and the other bus companies) won’t.

  • Agree with some responses from Joshua.

    On Ticketing standards: out of the five volumes, there are lot of missing pieces – it cannot be considered as a requirement for Auckland. Its too diluted to suit national level (obviously!), but at the same time, it doesnt have lot of details where its required. Details specific for Auckland is missing in it. If Snapper and Parkeon says they dont have enough information to do any development, there is something fishy with the NITIS standard. Know the reason? Thales withholds some major documents and doesnt release it in Auckland. In their Dubai project (NOL), they provided a lot more documents which explains the details of how it works. An analogy wil be if you show this is a laptop and this is what you need to build, does it give enough information for Snapper or Parkeon?

    Parkeon: Parkeon was supposed to deliver a number of documents, design etc. way before October. If you say its not October, you havent worked on any projects Joshua. Projects follow an SDLC and there are milestones. You dont need to wait until the go-live date to see if there is any slips. Parkeon is clarifying requirements for Auckland and National standards. Parkeon has a direct relationship with consortium of 6 bus companies – and surprise surprise – no governance structure with Auckland Transport. To put it bluntly, Auckland Tranport has literally no control other than providing some requirements. They bill it direct to bus companies. Bus companies doesnt have a clue on what they are getting (change management!!!) and Parkeon is going to make these consortium bankrupt y charging hundreds of thousands for every change from contract. Devil is in the detail mate!

    Train delay: What I meant is that HOP implementation on train will be delayed due to architctural flaws of Thales solution! Want proof? Try to travel from new Manukau line to Downtown (or Manukau to Pukekohe) when Auckland Transport pilot the solution from next month. Confirm the price and post that in this forum!! Snapper has nothing to do with this – Its all Thales problem – its what you say getting lost in translation – from English to French.

    Snapper: Snapper solution doesnt meet the Auckland requirements.Implementing the final solution is not simple. It requires major work. Snapperis not mature to handle that. There is only one person who understands this – Snapper CTO. Nobody in Snapper share the same passion as him- You can see that a number of their valuable resources left for other jobs recently.

    Delays: It will not be an integrated solution this year. Rail will go live first, Ferry will follow and bus will “follow”. Bus will follow next year mate. You dont know the work required for bus companies to get it integrated. It’s a mountain of work and dont be fooled by what you read in newspaper. If it took Snapper 6 months to develop some very basic functions, its pretty obvious how long it will take Snapper to complete a mountain of work. Keep dreaming. Everyone seems to have faith in mythical man month

    • Gian

      • Toronto (regional) –
      Canada
      • Oslo (regional) – Norway
      • Denmark (nationwide)
      • Netherlands
      (nationwide)
      • Paris – France
      • Strasbourg – France
      • Turin – Italy
      • Naples – Italy
      • Cagliari – Italy
      • Madrid – Spain
      • Coimbra – Portugal
      • New Delhi – India
      • Bangkok – Thailand
      • Beijing – China
      • Nanjing – China
      • Hong-Kong – China
      • Taipei – Taiwan
      • Singapore – Singapore
      • Algiers – Algeria
      • Cairo – Egypt
      • Dubai – UAE
      • Johannesburg Pretoria
      (Gauteng Province) –
      South Africa
      • Las Palmas –
      Grand Canaries
      • Mexico City – Mexico
      • Santo Domingo –
      Dominican Republic
      • Caracas – Venezuela
      • Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
      • Sao Paulo – Brazil
      • Santiago – Chile

      Thales supplies ticketing to all these places (their brochure) and you say they can’t get you a ticket from Manukau to Britomart?
      Chauvinism is a French word but other countries’ people are chauvinist too.

      • HOP

        Agree with Josh. Thales can do only 8 stages maximum… So cannot handle Henderson to Pukekohe which is more than 8 stages if you dont Tag Off and Tag on at New market! Trouble is, Auckland is not like other countries. There are gates only in Britomart and New market. Any other stations are open platform! So if you look at New market, the gates will up from the elevator and travellers from Kingsland travelling to Papakura will not Tag Off and the Tag On. How will fare work here?

        • Scott

          8 stage maximum? weird. I guess we could reconfigure fare policy to suit the ticketing product but that don’t seem ideal.

          Not tagging on/off at an intermediate station is common overseas. The system just assumes you transferred, and has the same price from one station to another regardless of your route.

        • Stages will be irrelevant once we move to the new integrated fares structure anyway. Hopefully that doesn’t take too long after we get the integrated ticketing working across all operators.

    • Joshua

      “f you say its not October, you havent worked on any projects Joshua. Projects follow an SDLC and there are milestones.”

      I work on plenty of projects, and although there are always milestones within them, they are not always made publicly available, and depending on how the contract is set-up, they may not even have to make them available to the client. Although thats not always the best move for future business. I’m not sure on the details of what they are ment to be supplying, but it still has nothing to do with what snapper has done.

      Train issue could turn to be a benefit, maybe well finally get our fare structure on trains fixed.

  • Cam

    Perhaps Mike Wilkinson could clarify how this is not Snapper’s fault?

    • Hamish O

      Unfortunately he only cares about astroturfing for his company, and does not care about Auckland’s transport.
      Imagine if he notices this post … with evidence he will be even worse.

  • obi

    Very interesting thread.

    I think people’s warning bells should have rung the minute they saw a $100 million budget. In my experience the probability of government delivering an IT solution starts to plummet the minute the budget exceeds $5 million. By the time you reach $50 million the chances of delivering anything at all approach zero. But public servants still think these projects up. Part of the problem is that managers (and especially project managers) like to work on them. A huge budget looks great on a CV and it doesn’t matter if the project was a failure. The chances are the project will run for years and so there is always some excuse you can use to escape responsibility… It was stuffed by the time I took it over. Or it was fine when I left and someone else stuffed it.

    Police used to be the gold standard for government IT failure. A few years ago Health blew through a shit load of money and delivered almost nothing. They escaped bad publicity, and National re-organised Health IT almost out of existence by devolving it to the regions. IRD seem to pump out expensive IT failures on a regular basis. Now, Customs are working on a project with a $75 million first stage… and I’d put money on it spinning out of control.

  • joust

    unfortunately – who cares who is at fault. On the subject of the OP, the lawyers will sort that out. Things seem to be pretty dysfunctional on all sides now. We need leadership now. Mayor Brown must step up and get the parties talking and give clear expectations to the ones he can influence.

  • Ross Clark

    Here’s what is motivating Infratil:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1206/S00908/infratil-defends-snapper-against-auckland-transport-claims.htm

    … In April, Wellington Snapper card usage reached 80 percent penetration, Miki Szikszai, chief executive at Snapper told BusinessDesk.

    On average, commuters top up their cards in $25 dollars allotments every 10 to 14 days, while online top ups can be up to 40 percent more. That makes Snapper’s float about $9.3 million at any one time.

    In a business the scale of the Auckland and Wellington bus systems, the annual interest on $9.3m is still a lot of money.

  • Rob

    Get real Ross – you think a multi-billion dollar company like Infratil gives a toss about a few hundred thousand dollars in interest? The operating costs of the system are in the millions as evidenced by the AT budget for operating integrated ticketing…..

    • Ross Clark

      Revenue in FY11 for NZBus as a whole was $204m with EBITDAF (operating profit, more or less) of $40m. This is before interest, depreciation or capital costs; I don’t think the bus business is all that profitable and it is certainly not cash-positive.

      So, would they fight over $1m max per year in interest? Yes, they would. I worked for Tranz Rail back in the day when its annual revenues were on a par with where Infratil’s, as a whole, are now, and we could fight over a lot less than a million dollars a year, either of revenue or expenditure.

      Put another way, several years ago someone who was working at the time for ARTNL told me that the part of the reason why the bus companies had developed their own day ticket, was that they did not want the ARC as-was to be in a position to dictate the terms of the business, especially in terms of the cash needed to run their businesses. To a private business owner, control is everything.

      While I’m here, this article is Infratil’s view of the bus world, from March 2012:
      http://www.infratil.com/media/PDF/2012_investorday_nzbus_zf.pdf

      • Yes of course the float is valuable, especially as PT is growing like mad in AK, but it is also about data, who ever has control of the ticketing system has a huge wealth of data. Clearly this cannot be in hands of one of the commercial operators. It must reside with the system planners and owner: AT.

        Having this data will mean, should mean, AT are able to grow a much more responsive and useful system; I can’t wait for this functioning.

        • Harvey Specter

          I agree that none of the bus companies want NZBus to have access to the data, in real time. Imagine how that would impact in the tendering rounds with 1 company having full detailed information to cherry pick the best runs.

  • sj

    I would like to draw the admins’ attention to possible trolling or astroturfing in this thread. (If, that is, this hasn’t been noticed already!)

    Several commenters have “blue” names due to putting the CAPTCHA code into the ‘Website’ field in the reply form: Rob Mayo, Sean – Sydney, Josh, George, HOP. In at least one case the erroneous “websites” are identical for different users.

    This might be a coincidence, but I suggest the admins compare IP addresses for these commenters, just to be sure.

    • Hamish O

      For what reason would anyone who takes part in “trolling or astroturfing” on this site purposely make their name(s) blue without a website? Please clarify.

      Sorry if this seems ignorant but I would tend towards taking it as a honest mistake, as a blue name without a website makes that person seem less not more professional/official to me.

      • It’s an honest mistake that many people make, especially new users… although someone who’s just popped up to troll or ‘turf would be both a new user and possibly not too familiar with blogs and forums so could make that very mistake.

        At least some of the people on that hit list are real and comment in other places and on other topics.

      • sj

        What I had in mind is that there seem to be a number of users in this thread who have made the exact same mistake: typing the CAPTCHA code into the website field.

        This could be a coincidence, but it could be a single troll using several different “sockpuppet” nicknames, which is a common strategy of internet trolls and astroturfers.

        If they’re all different, legitimate users then I’m wrong, mea culpa. Perhaps the CAPTCHA mistake is an easy one to make.

        • Matt L

          There are a couple of people who have posted twice under different names and I am keeping an eye out to ensure it doesn’t keep happening.

      • obi

        I think sj is talking about Josh and HOP, who both have “pc44″ in their website field. There are a couple of ways that could happen: Maybe the captcha isn’t very random, they both needed to enter that captcha, and they both happened to mistakenly enter it in to their website field. Or Josh is HOP, and they changed their name while leaving the pc44 in the website field untouched.

        If the second possibility is what happened then it means that HOP’s comment “Agree with Josh” is the commenter agreeing with them self. I think there are valid reasons to use a second persona in some situations… If you had sensitive job-related information to leak then you’d want to be anonymous. Agreeing with yourself isn’t a valid reason, in my opinion.

        Edited to add a third possibility: Josh and HOP are two people sharing a computer.

    • Thatt was a genuine mistake on my part – deleting the info in the website field in a couple of earlier posts I made. Apologies for not keeping my wits about me there when I was typing text.

  • Bob

    There have been a couple of mentions on other related posts on the site about an Auditor General’s report. Does anyone know the scope of that or when it is expected to come out?

  • Cam

    “Edited to add a third possibility: Josh and HOP are two people sharing a computer” – Really?? You really think this is an innocent possibiltiy?

    • obi

      It is not a likely one. But I’ve done computer forensics in the past and people get away with the most outrageous excuses. A public servant was caught surfing the web for porn over an extended period and escaped punishment because the person investigating couldn’t prove it wasn’t another person in his office borrowing his computer, which is what he claimed. My team took over the case six months later after he re-offended. We found him e-mailing URLs to a known friend, which took care of his likely explanation. We put the case together while he was on his honeymoon, and he came back to a whole ring binder worth of evidence and an official investigation that ended in his resignation.

      It was granny porn, and he’d spend hours a day viewing it. Very odd case.

      • SimonL

        In places I’ve worked sharing a login is certainly grounds for sanction.

        • obi

          They weren’t sharing. The porn guy alleged that his colleague was using his computer without authorisation while he was out of the office. It was an outrageous excuse, but it was hard to find evidence that ruled it out completely. One of my staff did, but it took several days worth of trawling through porn guy’s internet history, his PC files, and his e-mail to make the case beyond all doubt. Hence the ring binder of evidence… She visited every site he did and printed out the home page.

          I used to love the adverserial nature of that work. My favourite case was a public servant who used Hotmail to e-mail a photo of his erect, errr, organ to a member of the public. He used an anonymous throw away account. The only clue we had when we started was an IP address that was the government web proxy server. We finally put together enough evidence to warrant searching his office and found a stack of porno CDROMs on top of his government computer, one in the tray, and that he’d taped a poster over the pane of glass in his door. A colleague asked if we’d had to wash our hands after we got back to the office with the bagged-and-tagged evidence ;-)

Leave a Reply