A new ticketing system is on the way for Canberra’s public transport network, promising passengers a variety of flexible payment methods and an app providing improved real-time travel information.
Transport Minister Chris Steel said Transport Canberra had begun a procurement process for the new system which will replace the outdated MyWay ticketing and NXTBUS real-time information systems.
NXTBUS, in particular, has been the source of many complaints from bus passengers about its reliability.
Mr Steel said transport users would be able to pay for their bus or light rail fare using their credit card to tap on and off, as well as other flexible payment options such as a phone, smart device, travel card and other options.
This would also make it easier for visitors to Canberra to use public transport without needing to buy and load money onto a MyWay card.
“Currently travellers need to purchase and top-up a MyWay card where the money is stored on the card itself rather than an account linked to the person, which is not flexible and causes problems like lost cards,” Mr Steel said.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to take a ride on Canberra’s public transport system and a good ticketing system is really important to improve the transit experience,” Mr Steel said.
“Many Canberrans have been to other cities around the world where it is much easier to use public transport than it is here because of modern ticketing systems.”
Mr Steel said children and students would still be able to use a travel card but it would be linked to a central account.
“It will provide parents and students with extra flexibility,” Mr Steel said. “An account based system will enable parents to manage multiple different cards for their children and make it easier to travel every day.”
Mr Steel the new system would provide more functions and flexibility than the NSW account-based Opal card.
Public transport users will also benefit from a range of high-tech features aimed at making it easy to plan, pay for and take public transport.
A new app will include reliable real-time travel information and updates with GPS data allowing travellers to check details of their connecting services.
“We’ve heard from public transport users that they want better real-time information to inform their travel plans. These capabilities will improve the way people travel around our city,” Mr Steel said.
He said the single system would not only provide the front end – ticketing services and real time information for customers and journey planning – but also the back-end support for public transport planners and operations, with much more data available than through the MyWay system.
“It will provide better real-time information based on GPS on buses and light rail vehicles so people can have updates about when services are not running, a change to the schedule, better information as soon as possible, rather than the current system which only provides information up to 90 minutes before the travel occurs,” he said.
The cost of the new system would be released once the procurement is finalised.
Mr Steel said there would a be long development and transition period, with the new system likely to be rolled out next year or possibly even 2022.