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National Standard For Ticketing Systems Coming

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 1 NZPA - Infratil supports a national standard for integrated ticketing, but notes the standard will come in after it and councils have invested millions in building systems.

The Wellington-based owner of the Snapper ticketing and payment card system said in its latest investor update that the New Zealand Transport Agency was developing a national standard for integrated ticketing.

Infratil is confident that Snapper is flexible and open and considers that the system was provided without tax or ratepayer support.

"It can be noted that regional transport agencies have already spent well over $10 million of tax and ratepayer money on the development of Auckland and Canterbury's respective ticketing systems, so it is important that a national standard is developed soon," Infratil said in the update.

Environment Canterbury last year announced a $5.5 million investment in a German-based Innovations in Transportation system so people could load credit via the internet on its Metrocard, which be used on buses and ferries in greater Christchurch and Timaru.

Environment Canterbury director of operations Ken Lawn said his organisation was aware of the development of a national standard and was not anticipating problems in the short-term.

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority has signed a contract with French company Thales to deliver a multi-modal transport ticket for Auckland.

Public transport providers around the world have introduced electronic tickets that can be used on buses, ferries and trains to speed boarding times and make public transport more attractive to customers. The cards can also be used to buy other goods in some systems.

In the UK, banks are actively moving into having stored value on Visa cards that can be used on transport networks, according to infratil.

Infratil said the development of a national standard was strongly supported by Snapper as it would provide a platform for all interested parties to develop their payment systems.

Snapper technology is sourced from Korea, a market where there were a lot of different ticket issuers.

"Our system is one we are very confident is open plan," said Infratil executive Tim Brown.

"Our model was one of maximising the range of different applications of the card. We always wanted a card that could be used in a lot of different ways and that the equipment could also be compatible with a lot of different cards," he said.

Infratil's update notes a Snapper's trial with Reading Cinemas in Courtenay Place generated considerable interest. Cinema tickets purchased with a Snapper card attract a discount and are eligible for prizes. The next stage may include transport-entertainment packages, bundling bus fares, Zoo entrance and something from the Zoo caf©.

Mr Brown said that the trend internationally was to have a number of different ticket issuers, some in conjunction with banks, that could all be used on different transport services.

Some coffee shops in Wellington have Snapper readers, some provided by Infratil and others provided by banks.

"Whatever reader you have on the bus has to be able to read all the cards," he said.

There are now more than 100,000 Snapper cards issued.

The company is currently working with banks so that their Eftpos and Visa cards contain a Snapper capability.

It is also working on an agreement with supplier Korea Smart Card to add further functions, such as post paid cards and the ability to "reload" on an automatic basis from bank or credit card accounts.

Development on the ability to load passes on a Snapper card is being trialled, with initial availability for bus and ferry operators likely soon.

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