I have been fairly busy for the last couple of days, hence the lack of updates. There also hasn’t been particularly much news, although I have read through the somewhat interesting briefs to the incoming Minister of Transport from the Ministry and also NZTA. Interestingly there is a reasonable amount of reference to public transport, with the Ministry of Transport being particularly conscious of issues such as climate change and peak oil (although peak oil seems to have fallen off the radar with the most recent plummet of oil prices). I know it’s a bit more political that I usually blog about, but central government affects a LOT, so it’s good to get some idea of what the central agencies are up to.

Bringing things back to Auckland, I emailed ARTA about integrated ticketing the other day, mainly out of worry that we hadn’t heard anything about the issue for a bit too long. My email kept things fairly straightforward:

Hi there,

I have been reading about your Integrated Fares project, and specifically that the Smartcard Contractor is to be announced in the 4th quarter of this year. I am curious to know when this announcement will actually be made, as it will be the first clear step towards having integrated ticketing for Auckland’s public transport, a project that ARTA describes as being “…far from simple and has been the centre of substantial national and regional discussions for more than 10 years.”

I certainly hope that everything is still on track and that we won’t be waiting another 10 years for integrated ticketing to be implemented.

I have thought about how Auckland ‘s transport fare structure could be reorganised myself. You may find my thoughts interesting: http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2008/11/19/ticketing/

Kind Regards,

Joshua Arbury

I did, eventually, get a response. Well, I guess it could be called that:

Dear Joshua

Many thanks for your interest in ARTA’s Auckland Integrated Fares and Smartcard ticketing project and for the feedback that you have provided both in your email and on your website. ARTA seeks to deliver a world-class public transport system that makes Auckland an even better place to live, work and play. Integrated fares and ticketing will assist ARTA in delivering equitable and quality access to our public transport networks.

Auckland Regional Transport Authority

Gah! I mean what kind of rubbish response is that? They are thanking me for my interest? Integrated ticketing and fares will assist them in delivering a quality public transport network? Yeah no shit, a 5 year old would know that. They could have at least let me know when we might find out a bit more news on the issue, considering we’re getting very close to the end of the 4th quarter of 2008 (the time when we should know something definite about integrated ticketing).

So I sent back a (very polite in my opinion) reply:

Hi there,
Thank you for your reply to my email. However, you haven’t really addressed any of the questions that I was asking about. Maybe I should clarify:
1) Do you have any further information that it is possible to share about the progress of integrated ticketing? I have recently seen a few shops around Auckland being able to use “Snapper Cards”, a smart-card technology that is used on Wellington buses (although owned by Infratil). Is this perhaps what might end up being used in Auckland too? I guess it’s useful to have similar systems in Auckland and Wellington, although obviously you wouldn’t want NZ Bus using Snapper Cards but nobody else, as that would totally undermine the point of integrated ticketing.
2) Do you know if ARTA is likely to look at completely revamping the fare/stage/zone system? I assume you read my website post about the issues that I have with the current system and how a more simplified zoning system could encouraging greater use of public transport. Or are we likely to keep the current system where each route specifies its own stage boundaries?
3) On a somewhat related topic, I was curious when we might find out what type of electric trains the ARC/ARTA is likely to be purchasing. I assume that will need to be confirmed in the fairly near future right?

Thanks for your time,

I do await with somewhat great interest to see what response I get this time. Perhaps they find me annoying?

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