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NZTA committed to integrated ticketing

22 July 2009 - embargoed until 5pm

NZTA committed to integrated ticketing and fares system

The NZ Transport Agency has confirmed its commitment to the development of integrated ticketing and fares systems for public transport across New Zealand.

“The NZTA Board has taken the opportunity to re-assess our overall approach to integrated ticketing, including the development of an NZTA-led national integrated ticketing programme to maximise the return on our investment in public transport for New Zealand. We are confident that investing in an integrated ticketing and fares system will provide good value for money for public transport across New Zealand,” said NZTA Board Chair Brian Roche.

Integrated ticketing is a critical component for any well-functioning public transport system. It makes public transport easier to use by allowing passengers to travel across a city using different modes of public transport with a single ticket. It offers flexibility and convenience for passengers, making public transport a more attractive option.

Mr Roche said the NZTA’s approach to integrated ticketing will be based on:

• the use of open standards and interfaces,
• encompassing alternative funding, funder and financing options, and
• NZTA having specified rights to the central system and clearing house system and functions.

This approach will provide for a core centralised system that allows for multiple technologies and electronic ticket providers to connect to the central system provided they meet the technical standards defined by the NZTA. The approach will also provide the potential for individual public transport operators to decide which electronic ticketing or smart card system best meets their business needs. The focus will be on determining the standards while maintaining options, choice and competitive tensions to ensure value for money and improvements in the effectiveness of public transport services in New Zealand. The approach also has the potential for NZTA to enter differing ownership options for the central system. The value to NZTA is in the information provided by the system.

NZTA has now decided to investigate different delivery options based on the tender process undertaken with respect to the Auckland Integrated Fares System (AIFS).

In this context NZTA has agreed to support the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) to seek to use the tender process originally undertaken by ARTA and Land Transport New Zealand to deliver on the approach outlined above. In adopting this approach it is recognised that there have been several significant developments since the tender process was instigated by ARTA and LTNZ to undertake an assessment of integrated ticketing. Those developments include changes to regional governance in Auckland, further changes likely to be made to the contracting framework for the purchase of public transport services and the general level of funding available for the project. Those developments, together with the creation of NZTA and its objective of taking a national perspective and the development of the new Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding (GPS) with a strong and a more challenging economic environment has resulted in a very thorough review of both the process undertaken to date and the broader strategy for integrated ticketing. The review has found that the tender process was both robust and potentially capable of being used as the basis of a national programme for integrated ticketing.

Mr Roche said it was important that components of the system designed for Auckland are also able to be used elsewhere in the country, to avoid the unnecessary costs of paying twice (or more) for the same system. It is also critical that there be opportunities for multiple private sector providers to be fully engaged in the various technologies that facilitate a functioning integrated ticketing system.

“We’re investing public money and we’re committed to ensuring that we get the best possible return on that investment for all New Zealanders. It’s important that we keep the momentum going. NZTA will work closely with ARTA in the months ahead as they negotiate with a preferred tenderer for the delivery of the approach outlined above. At the same time NZTA will be engaging with a range of technology and transport operators to ensure that their preferences with respect to electronic ticketing are advanced both in Auckland and nationally. This will be important to ensure that the technical standards and issues of operability are developed cooperatively.

While advancing the issue in Auckland the NZTA will also be engaging with Regional Councils in both Wellington and Christchurch to advance their ticketing system with a view to securing full operability with the preferred national approach.

Mr Roche said while the NZTA Board has provided ARTA with indicative funding information for the purposes of negotiations with a preferred tenderer, final approval of funding would not be considered until September 2009. Agreement on funding will be dependent on ensuring that NZTA achieves value for money, and that the system for Auckland is compatible with the delivery of a national system and provides the scope for multiple technologies and operators interconnecting with a core central system.


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