Auckland Transport Chief Executive, David Warburton has announced that in the interests of protecting Aucklanders money and progressing the essential outcome of a first-class integrated ticketing programme for public transport in the region, Auckland Transport has terminated its participation agreement with Snapper Services Limited.
Dr Warburton says, “This is a regrettable decision but follows concerns about whether Snapper could modify its system in a suitable timeframe to make it compliant with the technology being progressively developed for Auckland Transport by French firm Thales, which won the major contract to supply Auckland Transport “HOP” cards and readers.
“Snapper had originally agreed to have its equipment compliant with the Thales system by the third quarter of this year to enable bus services to be added to the integrated ticketing programme mix by 30 November.
“Auckland Transport believes Snapper is not able to meet that deadline.
“While Snapper services will be withdrawn from the project immediately, Auckland Transport has made a commitment with Thales to deliver a bus solution for Auckland’s bus operators.
“HOP/Snapper card users on NZ Bus services will continue to use their current cards until their cards will be swapped out for free next year. The new cards will be known as AT/HOP cards.
“Meanwhile, Auckland Transport will introduce HOP on trains and ferries on schedule over the next two months, with rail introduced on 28 October and ferry by 30 November. Bus rollout will commence from April next year.
“We tried for a negotiated settlement regarding the termination of the participation agreement but Snapper’s position was unacceptable as it would have cost Auckland’s ratepayers and taxpayers an additional settlement of up to eight million dollars which we were not prepared to concede. At this stage there is no settlement and we are progressing the termination”.
Dr Warburton says the outcome brings certainty to the introduction of integrated ticketing in Auckland, internationally recognised as a key factor in increasing patronage.
Commuters can benefit from integrated ticketing by pre-purchasing an AT/HOP card which provides discounted fares of up to 10 per cent. The card is tagged against an electronic reader when commuters enter a bus, train or ferry – and again when they alight – and the correct fare is automatically deducted from the card. Not only is this more convenient for the customer, but loading and unloading is achieved more quickly, assisting better time-keeping.