14 January 2021

Back to square one on MyWay replacement a broken promise, say Libs

| Ian Bushnell
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MyWay cards

Commuters tap their MyWay cards after alighting light rail in the city. Photo: File.

The ACT Government’s decision to start an open tender process for a new transport ticketing system to replace MyWay has been attacked by the Canberra Liberals as another broken promise.

The government has opted to return to a full tender process for a replacement ticketing technology for bus and light rail after the failure of negotiations with its preferred provider, pushing out the adoption of a new system to 2023.

Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the government would go to tender after determining that what was on offer did not represent value for money.

“It’s disappointing that we did not get the outcome we had hoped, but we still remain committed to procuring a new public transport ticketing system for Canberra,” Mr Steel said.

“We want a ticketing system that provides the right technology solution for our city, but it has to be a system that is value for money.”

Mr Steel said the government would test the market later this year for a public transport ticketing system that included more flexible payment options and a real-time app for customers to track services and plan their journey.

“We want to make it as easy as possible to access bus and light rail services through an account-based system that enables fares to be paid using mobile phones or tapping on and off with a credit card,” he said.

But Canberra Liberals transport spokesperson Mark Parton said that after years of spruiking a new transport ticketing system, the government was back to square one.

He said the ticketing upgrade had been on the agenda since 2016, and the government promised that a contract would be awarded by mid-2020.

“Now the minister has admitted that the behind-closed-doors negotiations with one provider has failed and will start the whole process again with an open tender process,” he said.

“The deadline for delivery has been pushed back to 2023, some seven years after it was first promised.”

Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) chair Ryan Hemsley said it was highly regrettable that this long-promised upgrade was facing further delays.

”From a public transport equity and usage perspective, making the network easier to use by providing more ticketing options is clearly a no-brainer,” he said.

”Hopefully, this new tender process opens the door for the type of innovative and user-friendly payment methods being adopted in New South Wales, which have proven incredibly popular.”

Mr Parton said the decision was the latest in a growing list of broken promises and delays, including the Canberra Hospital expansion and the construction of light rail Stage 2.

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Master_Bates3:43 pm 15 Jan 21

Bring back the little books of 10 plasticised paper tickets we had to tear off in front of the driver. They worked beautifully.

The Transport Minister has been stuffing up the bus system design for a couple of years now, but I support him on holding this decision off.

A new ticketing system has to be flexible to fit with emerging payment methods and be easy and quick. No need for Canberra Transport to once again paint themselves into a corner.

Tapping on and off is way to slow and extends travel time. A system that automatically monitors exiting the bus would improve things.

I reckon a majority of bus users would accept a public transport app that monitors their phones GPS if it meant a discounted fare.

Ad-hoc users can simply use standard Credit Card and payment tapping systems at a higher charge.

ACT should, in addition to the MyWay card, adopt something like they have in Belgium with the DeLijn bus and light rail system. You can buy and load groups of 10 ‘tickets’ on your smartphone then ‘spend’ one each time you hop on a bus or tram. There is no need to tap on/off and each ticket is good for one hour travel. Inspectors randomly check phones onboard to see if travellers have actually bought a ticket.

Capital Retro8:29 am 15 Jan 21

There must be no horse races to call this week.

Would the Canberra Liberals prefer that the government simply push ahead with whatever flawed system was being negotiated, I wonder?

Note that one way the Canberra Liberals can be useful is to ensure that the tender allows for integration into eg Apple Maps and Google Maps (specifically Google Transit) rather than having a third party application attempting to invent maps and route finding from scratch,

In the iPhone ecosystem the ideal would be a Transport Canberra card that drops into Apple Wallet and contains a history of trips taken.

Of course another option is to have no ticketing system at all and simply provide free WiFi which provides a relatively simple mechanism to track individual trips from end to end.

Some really good points Grail, but the core issue of the Ticketing system is squarely on Labor/Greens rather than the Libs.

You are completely spot on about a better integration with Google Maps, etc. Pity they didn’t seem to use a mapping system when they totally stuffed up the bus network redesign. Why would you remove bus services from large swathes of Canberra? No wonder bus use dropped across Tuggers, Woden and Belco.

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