Well I chose a rather dramatic couple of weeks to be out of the country – I come back and it seems as long last we might have sorted out the integrated ticketing problem and finally given Snapper the boot. Good riddance I say! From next month we will start to see the “proper” HOP card rolled out on the rail network, with ferries following in November and the bus network – seemingly all in one go now with Thales providing the hardware, from April next year onwards. Here’s what the “real” HOP card is going to look like, compared to our current card:
Unsurprisingly, Snapper hasn’t accepted responsibility for the mess this project has turned into and find themselves blaming Auckland Transport and NZTA:
As a result, Auckland Transport has announced that they will engage French multinational Thales to develop and roll out a bus solution for all Auckland bus operators by April 2013 at a cost of over $12 million.
Rhoda said “We are naturally disappointed by this decision, as we have invested significant capital and effort to develop the Snapper system, which is currently the only operational integrated ticketing and payments solution in New Zealand. We are frustrated that critical components for our integration work that we needed from Auckland Transport, NZTA and Thales have consistently not been made available to us. Snapper put forward a plan in April that would have delivered by 30 November, but Auckland Transport never took the decisions and steps it needed to take for that plan to be implemented.”
“Auckland Transport is being disingenuous with its attempt to position Snapper as the reason that the AIFS project is delayed. Delivery of the AIFS system was the responsibility of Auckland Transport, with their partner NZTA and their prime contractor Thales. Snapper’s role was limited to integrating with that system, and the reality is that the AIFS system has not yet been built. What Auckland Transport also fail to mention is that of their $100m spent to date on this project, Snapper has never received any compensation for its integration efforts. Auckland Transport are solely accountable for the design, systems integration and delivery of this project”.
“Snapper is ready to deliver a fully compliant and integrated system as soon as Auckland Transport address fundamental capability and project management gaps – something they are unlikely to do until they acknowledge they have a problem.”
Remarkably similar lines to those repeatedly trotted out by a few commenters on this blog who tend to only comment on posts related to Snapper. What a remarkable coincidence!
That said, I don’t think we can fully lay the blame with Snapper for the mess this project turned into. It would have been clear from a very long time ago that things were heading off-track, yet it has taken about two and a half years since the Thales contract was signed for the realisation that there’s a fundamental problem with the project to actually be flushed out and solved. That suggests really really bad project management by somebody. It might take a few LGOIMA requests for us to get to the bottom of the story, but we will certainly do our best on that count – with so much money at stake.
However, to be honest I almost don’t care whether it costs another few million to be rid of Snapper completely. Enjoying Vancouver’s fully integrated public transit system over the last couple of weeks – with integrated fares to match – has highlighted to me the importance of getting integrated ticketing right. At the end of the day Snapper’s equipment just wasn’t up to the job – something known right from the start actually – so they’ve been kicked out. Now let’s just bloody well get on with it!