25 May 2023

What will MyWay+ do? That's a $64 million question

| Ian Bushnell
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Bus stop sign and bus.

A modern ticketing and information system is finally coming to Canberra’s public transport system. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT Government will pay the company contracted to develop, deliver and operate the territory’s new public transport ticketing system $64 million over the 10-year life of the contract.

The government had not revealed the exact worth of the deal with tech firm NEC Australia to provide the Next Generation Ticketing System to be known as MyWay+, saying only that it had come in under the project budget of $70 million.

The contract shows NEC will also have the option of extending the deal by up to two years.

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The government announced in February that it had secured a contractor to develop a replacement for the outdated MyWay system seven years after it was first flagged.

The search for a provider that could deliver exactly what the territory was looking for has been dogged by delays in a fast-changing technology landscape.

MyWay+ promises a cashless, mobile payment system using a phone app, smartwatch, traditional travel card or credit card to tap on and off, as well as delivering real-time information and a journey planner to commuters.

It’s expected to deliver personalised public transport-related messages, alerts, and information on whether bus seats are available.

This includes passengers being able to see their bus or light rail vehicle approaching on a map on their mobile device and catering for vision-impaired passengers who will need to be notified of an approaching bus or LRV.

Vision-impaired passengers must also be provided with on-board real-time expected arrival times for future stops along the route in a recognised and easy-to-use format.

light rail vehicle

MyWay+ will be a multi-modal system covering more than buses and light rail. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

MyWay+ will cover multiple travel modes across light rail, bus, cycling, walking, e-scooter and rideshare/taxi options, providing information about each, such as accessible stops/stations and paths.

Customers are expected to be able to customise journeys based on preferences such as cost, duration, carbon footprint and active travel components.

It will also be designed for future integration with services in other jurisdictions, including those in Queanbeyan.

The aim is to be a simple, secure and seamless way for Canberra commuters to get around town.

But it is also expected to mimimise fare evasion and fraud, with the contract specifying ways to ensure that a person has a validated ticket, card, device or token either before (in the case of light rail) or on entering the system (in the case of buses).

There will also have to be “sufficient security and anti-fraud processes”, such as a fraud engine that scans all transactions to discover anomalies to minimise and detect fraud.

MyWay+ is expected to produce high-quality geographical, passenger and real-time data that Transport Canberra will be able to use to manage and measure network performance, patronage and fare revenue.

There will be safeguards for personal information and a ban on data mining.

NEC will also need to ensure the system is secure from data breaches and have an incident response plan in place.

The design and development process is now underway and will take place over the next 12 months.

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A government spokesperson said NEC was working on MyWay+ from its Canberra facilities in Majura and would use a local ACT team to operate and maintain their component of the system throughout the life of the contract.

“Staff from Transport Canberra are assisting NEC in the development of the new systems with this locally led approach, ensuring MyWay+ is specifically customised for the Canberra market,” the spokesperson said.

“We are looking forward to implementing the many components to the new system and the community will be kept well informed of each milestone.”

Once the design and development process is completed, MyWay+ will be phased in over a transition period.

About 25 ticket vending machines will need to be installed across the public transport system, along with more than 1,000 new validators on Transport Canberra buses and light rail platforms.

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Whatever you do, please make the screen and font bigger, so that an old eye can discern what’s being displayed. A light blue background with yellowish lettering certainly does not help.

Will be great to have the freedom to pay via smart devices. Less cards to carry and somewhat less plastic around. Would be good if somehow there was an opt in/out feature in the app that detects you’re in the bus and charge automatically.

GrumpyGrandpa5:00 pm 26 May 23

I’m sure we aren’t the only family in Canberrra who carries MyWay, Opal and Myki cards in our wallets.

Lets hope the ACT Government when developing their new ticketing system ensured compatibility with the neighbouring Opal and Myki systems.

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