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Time for Auckland Action on a Transport Smart Card

Time for Auckland Action on a Transport Smart Card

Auckland, 24 August 2008 - "Time to lay the cards on the table!" said Nikki Kaye, National Candidate for Auckland Central at her campaign launch today. "A transport smart card would be a high priority for me as the MP for Auckland Central."

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority does not propose to rollout a card until late 2010. The smart card would let commuters pay with a simple swipe on any public transport system. The cards are rechargeable and make public transport simpler.

"There seem to be a lot of reasons why this can't happen. I want to make it happen sooner." said Kaye

"I am willing to wade through the alphabet soup - ARTA, MOT, ACC, ARTA, ARC to champion this policy." said Kaye

"As MP for Auckland Central, I will be knocking on the doors to hurry things up," said Kaye "We need some independent leadership to get the relevant people around a table. People are sick of endless planning phases."

"Wellington just got the Snapper Card, London has had the Oyster Card since 2003 and Hong Kong has the Octopus Card since 1997. Why are we waiting?"

Nikki Kaye has previously been employed by Transport for London who operate the Oyster Card and worked on major private sector IT projects.

Auckland Central has the smallest majority of any Labour-held seat in Auckland.

Smart Card - Backgrounder

The development of an integrated ticketing solution for the Auckland region has been discussed for more than 10 years. Each public transport operators have their own ticketing systems, so tickets can't be used on another operator's service.

ARTA has an "Auckland Integrated Fares System (AIFS) Programme" which is supposed to deliver this. It has been repeatedly touted but seems to be on a long timeline.

The AIFS programme focuses on two core projects - the implementation of Auckland's latest fares policy structure and products and the introduction of a smartcard automated fare collection system. This system is supposed to replace existing public transport ticketing systems in Auckland with an integrated and automated fare collection system utilising smartcard technology.

The programme has three key phases:

oSystem procurement - the smartcard Contractor appointed in the 3rd quarter of 2008

oARTA fares policy implementation - using existing technologies and systems where possible - in the 3rd quarter of 2009

oSmartcard development and implementation - the core smartcard system in operation in the 3rd quarter of 2010

oSmartcard system enhancement - enhancements to the system completed by the end of 2011

International Examples

London: The Oyster Card.

The Oyster card is a form of electronic ticketing issued by Transport for London - the Tube and bus operator - for use within the Greater London area of the United Kingdom. It can be recharged with value and has proved immensely popular.

The card was first issued to the public in 2003 with a limited range of features and there continues to be a phased introduction of further functions. By March 2007 over 10 million Oyster cards had been issued and more than 80% of all journeys on services run by Transport for London use the Oyster card.

Hong Kong: The Octopus Card

The Octopus card is a rechargeable stored value smart card used to transfer electronic payments in online or offline systems in Hong Kong. Launched in September 1997 to collect fares for the city's mass transit system, the Octopus card system has since grown into a widely used payment system for virtually all public transport in Hong Kong.

Use has expanded to payment at convenience stores, supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, on-street parking meters, car parks and other point-of-sale applications such as service stations and vending machines.

According to Octopus Cards Limited, operator of the Octopus card system, there are more than 16 million cards in circulation, more than twice the population of Hong Kong. The cards are used by 95 percent of the population of Hong Kong aged 16 to 65, generating over 10 million daily transactions worth a total of about HK$29 billion (US$3.7 billion) a year.

Wellington: The Snapper Card

The Snapper card was launched in June by Infratil. They are in use on the NZ Bus network. The ANZ National Bank has linked payment systems so that retailers can also use the cards. Retailers must fit their EFT-POS terminal with a contactless card reader.

This makes the Snapper card useful for small transactions such as buying a paper or paying for parking. Cardholder can add value by payment through the internet.

The companies involved Infratil, ANZ National Bank, NZ Post, Eyede, Unisys and Beca Group are also pitching Snapper to ARTA.

Recent ARTA Press Release.

Smartcard heads up key 2008/09 passenger transport projects

1 July 2008

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) today released the 2008/09 Auckland Land Transport Programme (LTP), which outlines Auckland's key passenger transport projects for the coming year. The release of the Auckland LTP follows the release of the National Land Transport Programme yesterday.

ARTA's General Manager, Strategy and Planning, Peter Clark says, "Over the next 20 years, the population of Auckland will grow at least by the equivalent of the current population of Christchurch or Wellington. Consequently, Aucklanders' need to travel is increasing at a faster rate than in other cities. This is putting great strains on our existing transport networks, and improvements to our infrastructure and passenger transport services are required.

"In offering an integrated programme of transport services, improvements and maintenance, the Auckland LTP is providing a regionally prioritised programme to move Auckland's transport system forward. The LTP lists all planned transport-related projects for the next 12 months (July 2008 to June 2009) from the region's city and district councils and ARTA itself. It prioritises the region's transport activities and allocates funding from the Auckland Regional Council, local councils and Land Transport New Zealand in a way that will help decrease Aucklanders' reliance on the private car by offering them more transport choices.

"As Auckland's transport agency, ARTA worked in consultation with the region's seven territorial authorities to collate, assess, evaluate and prioritise Auckland's transport activities for 2008/09. We appreciate the commitment of the organisations involved to assist us in drawing together the information and analysis required.

"ARTA also appreciates the ongoing commitment of the Auckland Regional Council towards land transport funding. This year, the ARC increased its transport contribution from $150 million last year to $179.3 million for 2008/09."

"Public transport growth in Auckland is now firmly on the move, showing a new trend for the region. For the year ending 30 April 2008, the average reduction in motorway traffic was about 3% while passenger transport use rose by 3.4%. The increasing rise of petrol coupled with improved passenger transport services should only see this trend continuing."

Key Auckland projects for 2008/09 include: * The design and construction of the electronic smartcard integrated ticketing system * An increase of train seat capacity to 7,550 seats and an increase in train service kilometres to 2.8 million * Bus service improvements on Remuera Road, Mt Eden Road and Dominion Road * Upgrading the Bayswater ferry terminal facilities and construction of a new ferry terminal at Beach Haven * Continuation of bus priorities on link roads to the Northern Busway * The Central Connector (the dedicated transport corridor between Britomart and Newmarket) * Major roading projects in new development areas, especially Flat Bush, East Tamaki and Pukekohe * New Lynn TOD * Auckland to Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI).

Key expenditure items for Auckland for 2008/09 include: * $248.6 M for passenger transport-related activities * $177.6 M for maintenance and renewal of local roads * $267.5 M for road improvement projects * $46.1 M for land transport system use activities (travel demand management, community focused activities, and pedestrian and cycle facilities).

A pdf of ARTA's 2008/09 Land Transport Programme can be found at www.arta.co.nz or call ARTA on (09) 379 4422 for a hard copy.

ENDS


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