6 July 2022

Still no supplier for long-promised upgrades to ACT's public transport ticketing system

| Lottie Twyford
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Ticketing system

The Opposition has renewed the pressure on the government over the long-awaited, much-anticipated new public transport ticketing system. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The Canberra Liberals have blasted the ACT Government for its ongoing failure to deliver a long-promised new public transport ticketing system.

The new system, which will be cashless and let travellers pay for their fares with credit and debit cards and smartphones, was first flagged by the government in 2016.

Opposition spokesperson for transport Mark Parton argued he had received repeated assurances from Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel that a provider for a new system would be appointed by the end of the financial year.

But Mr Parton observed the deadline had now passed and the government had yet to announce this supplier.

A spokesperson for the government said on Tuesday morning (5 July) a supplier would be appointed in the coming months with the ticketing system now in the final stages of procurement.

Mark Parton

Opposition spokesperson for transport and city services has accused the Minister of not being serious about the ticketing system project. Photo: Region.

But Mr Parton said it’s now at the point where that upgrade is years overdue.

“Canberrans are crying out for a new public transport ticketing system, and we are now years on since it was first promised by this government,” Mr Parton argued.

“We know the Labor-Greens government can’t manage money, can’t deliver services and can’t keep promises. This is just another example of the government and Transport Minister letting Canberrans down.”

An upgraded public transport ticketing system was first flagged by the ACT Government in 2016 when Meegan Fitzharris was the responsible minister.

Meegan Fitzharris

Upgrades to the Territory’s transport ticketing system were first flagged by then-Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris in 2016. Photo: Region.

In a statement released in July of that year, she confirmed work had started on an “integrated transport ticketing system for buses and light rail across Canberra”.

More than $7 million was allocated in the 2017 budget to go to market for a provider.

In 2018, the government then said the new ticketing system would be rolled out when the light rail was operational.

But in 2019, when the light rail became operational, that new system was still nowhere to be seen.

In February 2020, now Minister for Transport and City Services Mr Steel confirmed a procurement process for the new system had commenced.

This was plagued by delays Mr Steel attributed to the pandemic. Then in January of last year, the ACT Government was forced to break off negotiations with its preferred provider after it could not agree on a price.

It then had to return to a full year-long tender process.

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According to a timetable released in August 2021, the government said it hoped to engage a supplier in February 2022, have MyWay and Nxtbus removed and the new system installed and tested in August, transitioning to the new system in October with a handover in place in November.

In February this year, Transport Canberra said in a statement the project had entered the final stages of procurement with a short list of successful respondents from the first stage being invited to participate in a Request for Proposal activity.

The directorate said it had received interest from Australian and international companies.

NSW began rolling out the use of credit and debit cards to tap on and off in 2017. The system became fully operational by September 2019.

The ACT Government did not respond to further questions from Region about delays to the project.

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We need an Australia wide ticketing system. There should still be no reason within that, that local governments still can’t set their own fees. People would pay whatever the local fees are for where they are, but all use the same ticket, so if you go somewhere in Australia, you know you already have a ticket.

How about the ACT council not waste a billion or more dollars on another silly tram leg and spend it on faster and more efficient electric buses, which already have their own lane to Woden. And perhaps even scrap bus tickets and make public transport no extra cost for all of Canberra, we already pay for it and billions otherwise wasted on the tram could pay for the rest of the ACT public transport needs for many years

Our family have MyWay, Opal AND Myki cards and Canberra, being a little island in the middle of NSW, I suspect most Canberrans have interstate family and friends.

Whatever system the Government decides to adopt, it’d be a real missed opportunity if there wasn’t connectivity with other ticketing systems.

I had to laugh when I heard Minister Steele on 666 this morning deny any delays in the new ticketing system and that it remained on track.

If he considers it to be on track, I hope he’s not personally involved in the technical rail design for stage 2A through London circuit.

Perhaps, bj_ACT, Steele means “it’s on track based on the timelines of a realistic and properly constructed project schedule, as opposed to the ludicrous schedule I placed on the project team because I needed to parade in front of the press”

BJ,
Projects are always “on schedule” when you’re in charge of the schedule and can update it every month.

Project management 101, haha.

You can say what you like until you have to make the leap from 99% to 100% complete.

Yes good point. I’m now going to use this approach whenever my wife asks me how the retaining wall I promised to build a decade ago is progressing.

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