There may be one sitting asleep at the Gungahlin interchange, but the rest of the new Transport Canberra ticket vending machines won’t be appearing at other sites across the ACT and along the light rail route until the New Year at least and more likely closer to the start of operations some time in the first quarter of 2019.
The machines that will allow public transport passengers to buy paper tickets, check balances on their MyWay cards, and top them up, will be rolled out to interchanges, including the new Dickson facility, and all 13 of the light rail stops.
A Transport Canberra spokesperson said the one installed at the Gungahlin interchange in October is yet to be activated while the others are still being programmed and tested ahead of the start of light rail.
“There’s no point testing and commissioning a machine on a light rail stop after it’s been installed if there are any issues with it,” the spokesperson said.
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A Transport Canberra social media post in October saying the rollout had begun was somewhat premature, as the installation of the machines, and the platform validators that will be on every light rail stop, is dependent on the completion of the project stages and the go-ahead to the start of services.
Construction delays have put back the completion date and the Government is unable to confirm when services will start, with the possibility it could be as late as April when the new bus network begins.
The spokesperson said the machines would be introduced gradually as they were approved and stations were completed, with the first due station to be ready in the New Year.
Unlike the bus system, light rail vehicles will not carry the tap on, tap off validators, but there will be two at every stop to encourage efficient boarding and alighting, and prevent queuing.
The ticket vending machines will include an improved digital display compared with similar models in other states, and allow passengers to top up their cards on the spot rather than having to find a MyWay agent.
Tickets and fares will be the same across the integrated transport network.
“We’re working the basis that it is one network, one fare and one card,” the spokesperson said.
When services do start, Canberra Metro will have customer service officers on the light rail vehicles and stations to assist passengers and ensure safety.
“They’ll be on site and visible, and they’re going through detailed training,” the spokesperson said. “I think people will find when the system is up and running how seamless it will be.”