Integrated Ticketing Misses Capital


It’s disappointing to learn that there are no plans for Aucklanders to be able to use its official integrated ticketing card when they visit Wellington. I thought that was suppose to be one of the benefits of the idea.

A report to a Greater Wellington regional council meeting says - as we know - NZTA is taking a national approach to integrated ticketing with this featuring access to a centralised management system, and includes the development of national standards for integrated ticketing (known as NITIS).

But it adds:

“However, it does not extend to plans for a national ticketing scheme (i.e. the ability to use the same transit card in more than one region).”

In fact the Wellington council - despite the scramble to do everything else in tiem for the RWC 2011 -has no plans at the moment for the single card and it may be several years before Wellington gets it. In fact in 2009 the scope of Greater Wellington’s integrated ticketing project was reconfirmed as “rail only, with capability for extension to bus at a later stage” and in Wellington, of course,  NZ Bus’ Snapper card rules.

The council has decided  to sit back and watch what happens in Auckland.

“A preliminary version of the NITIS standard will be used for a pilot phase for the Auckland Integrated Fares System (AIFS), from July 2011. In future, as well as ensuring a contestable basis between the vendors of compliant electronic ticketing equipment in New Zealand, NITIS will govern interaction with the centralised management system by regional integrated ticketing schemes, or by commercial electronic ticketing systems. There is therefore an emerging framework within which Greater Wellington’sconfirmed project scope and the necessary interoperability potential may be developed. There is also a reduction in exposure to risk as a consequence of trailing AIFS in the process.:

If I read that right, it does at least confirm as if by July you can use your card be it Snapper or the new Hop on any Auckland transport mode.

On Snapper, the Wellington council report says:

“The growth potential of the existing ‘Snapper’ electronic ticketing system, deployed on NZ Bus services in Wellington and widely used by Metlink passengers, will be influenced by whether and how soon the system could be developed to comply with the NITIS standard. In isolation the system could exist indefinitely without change, but for it to expand to other bus operators under any other than a purely commercial arrangement - or for it to become interoperable with, for example, a Wellington rail ticketing solution provided by a different vendor - standards compliance will be a critical requirement.

“Future procurement in association with Greater Wellington’s project will clearly be by competitive tender. In addition to the requirement for interoperability between public transport operators and modes, it is expected that NITIS compliance will be a stipulation of NZTA capital funding. The critical compliance requirement is therefore the same for any prospective vendor.”

UPDATE: Greater Wellington Council says in an email:

The quoted summary of Grater Wellington’s position places insufficient emphasis on an important sentence from the source report. That is, in the context of NITIS national integrated ticketing standards, “it (NITIS) does not extend to plans for a national ticketing scheme (i.e. the ability to use the same transit card in more than one region)”. Opting into or not opting into a national scheme or card is not a choice for Regions including Greater Wellington, since neither are proposed features of the national approach developed by NZTA.

The policy position of ‘rail only with capability for extension to bus at a later stage’ is designed to ensure that bus/rail interoperability will be achieved in Wellington, with the minimum of risk and as cost-effectively as possible. This includes close collaboration with NZTA on applying the national approach (including the emerging national standard), and close involvement with AIFS in Auckland where the earliest application of the standard will be made from mid-2011.




  1. Matt says:

    Wellington needs an integrated bus/train/ferry card just as much as Auckland. The complicated fare situation in Wellington is actually pretty rotten. Try to make sense of it all here:

    If there are combined bus/train tickets then they work with Go buses (ie Wellington), but not with Newlands, Mana buses, I think, but the fare guide is ambiguous in that regard. And then you can get monthly bus/train tickets that only have some buses and not others, and none of them have the Newlands/Mana buses.

    (Actually I just called the number on the brochure, and nope the advertised train and bus fare for zone 10, actually doesn’t let you ride any bus (so I was told!!), and there are no combined bus-rail fares that let someone ride a Newlands or Mana bus. Despite Porirua being a major interchange between the two)

    Then there are the non-compatible smart cards, and it is really annoying having to maintain two balances just to get to work, and neither of them work on the train, so I have to worry about 3 different fare-payments (the 10-trip train, my Newlands card and my Snapper card). It should not be this hard. The fare structure is a complete and utter mess.

    It really is so dumb it is like the GWRC is shooting itself in the foot.

  2. Brent C says:

    This is a dissapointment. I do remeber reading in the Dompost that all snapper cards would need to be replaced so they can comply with what Snapper have planned in Auckland.

    I am aware that due to commercial services, sometimes buses routes run under different companies. This makes ticketing rather confusing if different companies run the same bus route.

    With Wellingtons public transport patronage, they should have lead the way on integrated ticketing!

  3. Rageaholic says:

    Which definition of integrated are either city meeting? The powers that be should stop promising us we’ll have integrated ticketing and just call it what it is: ticketing. A new ticketing system that may or may not be as complex and confusing our current one.

  4. Andrew Miller says:

    Whew! And you can use the Ecan Metrocard on 3 bus companies and one ferry company with a common fare structure for all. How come Chch led the way on this?

  5. Simon Atkinson says:

    Andrew Millar has a very good point.
    Other Regional councils should look at the way that Christchurch does. Regional councils need to NETWORK WITH ONE ANOTHER.
    Wellington can have 3 zones. Wellington and Johnsonville. Hutt Valley. Porirua and Kapiti.
    Auckland can have Central. Western. Eastern. Sothern and Northern.
    In both cases a person would pay no more then 2 zones to get from A to Z. and the fare policy is built on Christchurch. Yes It can be done if regional councils have the brains to act on this.

  6. Matt L says:

    Andrew & Simon - Christchurch has benefited from having bus companies that have a history of working together with the regional council rather than against it. In the case of Auckland we have bus companies who actively fight against the council including lobbying against them and taking them to court.

  7. Paul Q says:

    Matt - “The complicated fare situation in Wellington is actually pretty rotten”

    If you think that’s bad, try and work out how Japan Rail charge - it reads extremely confusing.

  8. marsoe says:

    It has been pencilled in for Chch’s Metrocard2 (or whatever the replacement for the Metrocard will be) that it must be compatible with other smartcard systems.


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