Since getting the $1.2 billion NSW public transport electronic ticketing system (ETS) project underway in May 2010 by awarding a $398 million contract to the Pearl Consortium, the state’s transport authority has been very quiet on the project’s progress.
Last December’s Auditor-General’s report to Parliament into the Public Transport Ticketing Corporation (PTTC), the lead agency for the project, showed that hardware is due to show up on the private bus network as early as the middle of 2011.
Its extension into the ferry network should begin in late 2012, and will continue onto trains and buses in the second half of 2013, with the system to reach its completion within 12 months of this date.
The PTTC advised the Auditor-General that it was on track to meet these implementation deadlines at the end of last year.
So how has the implementation progressed in the months since?
A spokesperson for Transport NSW has told Intermedium that the first stages of the system’s build are within sight.
"We are working towards the first major milestones of the delivery timetable for the electronic ticketing system which include the rollout of cash consoles on the private bus network and the rollout of the system on the ferry network," she said.
Job advertisements released by RailCorp indicate that the state rail provider will soon embark upon an ‘Electronic Readiness Program’ across all of its 307 metropolitan stations. The program will involve profiling each of the stations in preparation for e-ticketing equipment, and managing the ETS readiness objectives so they interface with current and future station upgrades.
At present a Project Officer for ETS Site Readiness, Stakeholder Liaison Manager and Safety Facilitator (ETS) are being sought by RailCorp.
The NSW Coalition, favourite to assume government after March 26, has also revealed that it will not only continue with the e-ticketing program, but they will extend it to encompass the Sydney Light Rail network.
"The Keneally Labor Government continues to proactively exclude light rail from the current MyZone ticketing system and has proactively decided to exclude light rail from a future electronic ticketing system," said Opposition Transport spokesperson Gladys Berejiklian in a press release.
"Labor simply doesn't understand that all modes of transport must be integrated within the one network," she said.
Transport NSW said that the electronic ticketing system will operate in a similar way to the eTag vehicle tolling system.
“Sydney’s new system will allow customers to tag on and tag off from different modes of transport – government ferries, trains and government and private buses,” said a spokesperson for the Department.
The ETS follows on from the failed T-Card system, which was scrapped in January 2008 after the vendor failed to meet deadlines.
The Pearl Consortium, who has been contracted to implement the new system, is headed by Cubic Transportation, the company responsible for building London’s Oyster Card system. It also includes Downer EDI and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
In addition to the $398 million that has been paid to the consortium for the build, there is also an extra $250 million in the budget for variable charges which may be owed to the Pearl Consortium over the duration of the systems implementation and maintenance period.
Another $550 million has been reserved to pay for extra costs incurred by agencies and operators who will be associated with the ETS, including commissions payable to the retail network and additional equipment which may be needed to expand network in the future.
Thus ICT vendors should be aware that further contracting opportunities could arise from this project.