Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Unified ticket 'being held up by bus firms'

Aucklanders will be waiting until November at the earliest to use a single card on buses, trains and ferries. Photo / NZ Herald
Aucklanders will be waiting until November at the earliest to use a single card on buses, trains and ferries. Photo / NZ Herald

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".

Mr Beggs thanked staff on an outstanding performance to "plug our system into Auckland's trains, buses and ferries ... for commuters to use".

He said the company was focused on testing the system on ferry and rail devices from June 25 and working with Auckland Transport and the New Zealand Transport Authority on minimising further delay.

No one from Snapper or NZ Bus returned calls yesterday.

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.

The $98 million cost of the integrated ticketing system is being shared by ratepayers ($42 million) and the transport agency ($56 million).

The Transport Agency approved the funding for the Auckland Integrated Fares System in November 2009, including the development of a core central ticketing system.

At the time, the agency said the system was a long-term investment in the future of public transport for New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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