Smartcards for Canberra buses moving forward

johnboy 8 July 2009 45

Jon Stanhope has announced that moves to smartcard ticketing on ACTION buses are progressing with Downer EDI Engineering Power Pty Ltd signing up to replicate the SmartRider system they built for Perth.

    “Canberrans can look forward to a new ticketing system that is fast, easy and flexible,” Mr Stanhope said. “It will offer bus users a reusable and rechargeable card for travel on all ACTION buses.

    “Bus users will be able to recharge their smartcard over the internet, phone or at other card facilities across the ACT. A one-use ticket will also be available for casual users and tourists.

    “Bus users will be required to tag-on and tag-off buses, which will significantly improve ACTION’s capacity to monitor passenger trends and make adjustments to meet changes in demand.

Have any of you had any exposure to the Perth system? Care to share the experience?


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45 Responses to Smartcards for Canberra buses moving forward
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ML-585 ML-585 11:42 am 10 Jul 09

Pandy said :

$10 to buy the card and then it has to be topped up with a minimum amount?!!!!! Do I hear gouging going on?

That’s also how it works in Brisbane/SE Qld – the $10 is a refundable deposit which can be applied towards a fare if the main credit has expired. This also answers dvaey’s question about what happens to school children who don’t have the money to get to school or home.
At least a credit card-style card will be more resiliant than the current tickets. You should see the condition that some school term tickets end up in.

Pandy Pandy 8:59 am 09 Jul 09

$10 to buy the card and then it has to be topped up with a minimum amount?!!!!! Do I hear gouging going on?

Very Busy Very Busy 6:54 am 09 Jul 09

ChrisinTurner said :

To speed up the buses, I hope ACTION follows Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide (and the rest of the world) by allowing their drivers to open the rear doors at all stops.

At every stop? no, that would slow the bus down. To open the rear doors an extra brake needs to be activated which takes time to release again. The doors are slower to close and the bus cannot be moved until the doors are completely closed. You would only speed things up if several people at the rear of the bus are exiting – not at every stop.

dvaey dvaey 5:31 am 09 Jul 09

Instead of throwing bucketloads of cash at some new fangled scheme which probably wont work properly anyway (given our governments previous projects), why dont they just put that money into making bus services more affordable or even free, to encourage more people to use them, rather than bringing in more systems to discourage use. What happens for school kids who forget to ‘tag off’ then dont have money to get to school.. or get home?

Also, the idea of contactless smartcards sounds okay in theory, but if youve got a bus card, credit card, and who knows what else as an RFID card, do you really want to be waving your wallet in front of a bus reader? Even passport RFID systems have been cracked what makes Stanhope think our bus tickets will be any better?

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 12:18 am 09 Jul 09

To speed up the buses, I hope ACTION follows Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide (and the rest of the world) by allowing their drivers to open the rear doors at all stops.

Also, we could try following the Sydney (and London) trend of making their busy routes “pre-paid fares only” during peak hours. This removes the cash transactions that slow down the buses so much.

On some “pre-paid only routes” in Europe they use bendy buses with four double-doors that are all available for both entry and exit. Boy are they fast!

p1 p1 10:46 pm 08 Jul 09

What fabforty said is the way to go, but it would be even better if nationally it workeed, public transport, tolls, parking, the works. And ifit ever to happen, it has to start somewhere

TP 3000 TP 3000 10:46 pm 08 Jul 09

The HUGE advantage to the new smartcard technology, means that buses won’t be held up with people blocking the door way searching for their ticket, only to have the ticket jam in the validator & hold everyone else up.

All you have to do to Tag On/Off is place your wallet (that would contain your card) over a reader & it tags you on or off. I am just waiting when this system is up & running as I’ll be out all day showing everyone where to place their card/purse/wallet.

The ones that will loose out will be those that sell the companies that sell the bus tickets. I don’t know how ACTION will do it, but people won’t be going in every week/month to buy bus tickets.

bd84 bd84 9:09 pm 08 Jul 09

It sounds like a reasonable system to me, as long as they test and implement it correctly, which hasn’t been a strong point of anything stanhope has done.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SmartRider

wiki gives a good rundown of how the system works in perth and the issues they have had with it.

As for zoning, it’s probably another reason for people not to catch buses. If they were to consider implementing it again, a north and south zone would be the only reasonable solution in a city this size, though it would still be difficult given that the city isn’t in the middle of the territory.

Ian Ian 9:02 pm 08 Jul 09

Nambucco Deliria said :

So by your logic, ML-585, you’re saying that my monthly ticket, which currently costs me around $90, would cost me $7.40 x 30 days, or $220?

Depends how the system is set up, but it could be programmed so that the most charged in a week is the value of a weekly and the most charged in a month the value of a monthly.

sexynotsmart sexynotsmart 8:35 pm 08 Jul 09

Dammit typo, should read “public”.

Note to self – use the “Preview” button.

TP 3000 TP 3000 8:35 pm 08 Jul 09

fabforty said :

If the ACT Government wants to be truly progressive and if this is supposed to be a really smart card, it should also enable people to pay for parking as well as catch buses.

Well Perth are moving this way, the pay machines at the Train Stations let you tag on & the all day parking fee of $2 is deducted from the smartrider. You then get a ticket to display on your dash.

sexynotsmart sexynotsmart 8:34 pm 08 Jul 09

The Perth ticketing system works fine.

My fave Perth pubic transport initiative is… the CATS. The buses are free in the “Central Area Transport Service”. Adelaide used to have the “Bee-Line bus” that did something similar, but I’m not sure if it’s still going now they’ve extended the tram lines.

fabforty fabforty 6:15 pm 08 Jul 09

If the ACT Government wants to be truly progressive and if this is supposed to be a really smart card, it should also enable people to pay for parking as well as catch buses. Think of it, no more scrabbling around in the dashboard for change every day, no-one trying to break into the pay machines, no-one needing to be paid to clear the machines daily, just a card you can top-up conveniently at lots of shopfronts or online. Just swipe at the car-park entrance and exit.

You know we can. Canberra is the right size to be able to do something really innovative with its public transport system.

farnarkler farnarkler 6:09 pm 08 Jul 09

You can keep some of the people satisfied some of the time……….

If it works as well as the Oyster card in London, bring it on.

AndyC AndyC 5:52 pm 08 Jul 09

I really never understood how Canberra couldn’t make a zone system work. They do it in Hobart and it works fine. Hobart has at least 3 major population centres (Hobart city, Glenorchy, Eastern Shore) which are serviced by their metro bus system, and the zoning system works. Yes, some people have to pay more to travel on the bus, but such is life. It works in reverse also, if I live in the city and wanted to travel to one of the regional centres, I would have to pay the bigger zoned fare. This seems like a fair system to me.

I would also like to note, I see the Sydney smart card system was mentiond above. That was ditched several months ago, as a $22 million flop (can’t remember the exact reason). I hope we do better than them.

Nambucco Deliria Nambucco Deliria 3:59 pm 08 Jul 09

So by your logic, ML-585, you’re saying that my monthly ticket, which currently costs me around $90, would cost me $7.40 x 30 days, or $220?

ML-585 ML-585 3:43 pm 08 Jul 09

Icepoet said :

ML-585, that was not true. Bruce was actually considered part of the grey (crossover zone) and hence SHOULD have been charged as the one fare.

Isn’t that what I said? The suburb of Bruce including AIS and Calvary Hospital were located in the Central Zone – College St and UC were in the shared (North/Central) zone. In any event you should have just asked the driver for a Central Zone transfer ticket. Basically the zones were structured around the interchanges (with a few exceptions) – any travel from City to Belconnen Interchanges would be contained within the Central Zone; only once you travelled beyond Belconnen Interchange would you be in the North Zone. Gungahlin was where the system has its major failings.

ML-585 ML-585 3:28 pm 08 Jul 09

astrojax said :

$7.40??? that’s outrageous – i was thinking the fares would be around the $3.80 they are currently for a lengthy kind of transferred trip, with a short hop being maybe $2 – $2.50

would this still be supplemented by weekly tickets though? i don’t know…

Clearly you don’t know. Read my post again. $7.40 would be the maximum daily fare – so regardless of how much travel is undertaken in a day, no more than the current daily ticket fare would be charged. This is how the Perth system works. This can be extended to calculate weekly, monthly and school term fares.

AlpineViper AlpineViper 3:28 pm 08 Jul 09

The Perth system worked well, though I moved here shortly after it was brought in. It was especially useful for paying the right amount with the zoning system they have there. Canberra doesnt have zones, so…. meh?

Icepoet Icepoet 3:19 pm 08 Jul 09

“Bruce and Braddon were both in the Central zone so travel between the two would have been a single-zone fare.”

ML-585, that was not true. Bruce was actually considered part of the grey (crossover zone) and hence SHOULD have been charged as the one fare, however 90% of the bus drivers I encountered had no idea which drop off point was in which zone themselves – hence the confusion. If the bus drivers couldn’t even get it right, how could the general public be expected to work within that system? As a 17 year old who was told you pay 2 fares or don’t catch the bus by many, many drivers – what choice did I have? The few times I had complained to ACTION about issues with buses I was treated with disdain and contempt.

So, yes it was difficult for me and you are right, it would have been equally as difficult for those people who lived just inside opposing zones and only needed to travel a short distance. Hence my argument, zoning will not work in canberra.

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