7 Dec 2009

Deal signed on single transport card for Auckland

9:41 pm on 7 December 2009

An electronic public transport ticketing system could be operating in Auckland within two years, following the signing of $47 million deal on Monday.

The system will allow commuters initially in Auckland to use a single card for journeys on buses, trains and ferries and will later be available for other cities in New Zealand to adopt.

French firm Thales has won the contract to oversee the project, which is being run jointly by the Government's transport agency and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA).

Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee says the convenience of a system similar to those overseas should attract more people to public transport.

ARTA chief executive Fergus Gammie says all Auckland transport operators will have to sign up to the new system.

A rival system, Snapper, is to be adopted by the region's biggest operator NZ Bus next year, but its future is now unclear.

ARTA chairman Rabin Rabindran says Thales won the tender ahead of the Wellington-based ticketing system operator because it offered a superior deal.

Mr Rabindran told Checkpoint Snapper's tender was rejected because it would have created significant cost to taxpayers and, ultimately, transport users.

The Snapper system is used on Wellington buses and the company says it plans to continue with its expansion into Auckland.