Ticketing gets smart

WESTERN Australian train travellers may be able to trade in their worn old multiriders with smart card tickets by the end of next year.

They will also be faced with barriers, designed to curb fare evaders, at more and more train stations through this year. Perth Central Station is likely to have barriers in place by the middle of next year.

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure is evaluating tenders for the supply of a smart card ticket system. While the department will not reveal how many companies have tendered for the project, WA Business News has been able to ascertain that ERG is one of the bidders.

The department is also hoping that the Federal Government will continue with its plan to introduce a “multi-use” smart card system.

Project manager smart card ticketing project, Tony Lenthall, said the department was looking for a stored value type card system.

This would allow commuters to top-up the value on the card as it was needed and have the price of the train fare deducted at the end of each journey.

It is understood bidders for the smart card system will also be tendering for the barrier contract.

“The barrier system will be progressively implemented through this year and into the next,” Mr Lenthall said.

WA Government Railways urban passenger services general manager Brett Inchley said 14 stations in the Perth metropolitan rail system were going to have barriers erected in one of two ways – some would have the smart cards matched with barriers and the others would have turnstyles.

 “All stations will be modified to have one point of entry,” he said.

Collectively, these 14 stations account for 85 per cent of the rail system’s total patronage.

Mr Inchley said WA’s ticketing system would learn from the mistakes made in Melbourne and other Australian cities.

“We’re still hoping to ride on the back of the multi-use card. We’re hoping the Commonwealth and Telstra will come out with something like that. It hasn’t been ruled out,” he said.

ERG spokesman Shaun Duffy said the smart card ticketing company was one of the bidders for the WAGR project.

He said the main thing ERG provided to transit authorities was the back office computer system.

Mr Duffy said the Perth contract called for the installation of barrier systems as well as the smart card processing technology.

Two weeks ago ERG finalised the Sydney smart card ticketing project it had been sweating on for the past year after rival bidder Cubic Transportation Corporation started a publicity and legal campaign.

ERG also picked up smart card ticketing projects in Washington DC and Seattle in the US, worth more than a combined $400 million.

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