Daniella White

No date in sight for MyWay ticketing upgrade | The Canberra Times

news, act-politics, myway, transport canberra, can i use my credit card to tap on, myway update, light rail, canberra bus, covid-19, covid

A long-promised upgrade of Canberra’s public transport ticketing system is facing significant delays, with a provider yet to be selected and no clear time frame for its roll-out. The government in February announced it would replace the MyWay ticketing system allowing people to tap on and off light rail and bus services with a credit or debit card. The changes would offer flexible payment methods and an app providing improved real time travel information. At the time the government remained tight-lipped about the procurement method they would be using, but said a provider would be appointed by the middle of 2020. But Transport Minister Chris Steel says those plans have been thrown off course, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for the delays. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have a lasting and dynamic impact on service delivery by all governments across our country,” he said. “The ACT Government is prioritising developing a COVID recovery plan for public transport and the role of a new ticketing system will be considered as part of this.” He said the plan would continue to be developed over the coming months when the COVID situation improved and passengers were actively encouraged back on public transport. Mr Steel was not able to give a time frame for the implementation of the new system. “While we are still in the relatively early stages of a large and complex ICT procurement process, we remain committed to significant improvements to the ticketing system for Transport Canberra,” he said. “To date, a sole source contract negotiation has been progressing, but the impacts of COVID-19 have interrupted this process. Our public transport recovery plan will consider the appropriate timeframe for the implementation of the new ticketing system.” Mr Steel said much of the recent public transport focus had been dedicated to delivering services that ensures the safety of staff and passengers. “These discussions have been ongoing across jurisdictions and have been subject to national cabinet consideration,” he said. It’s not the first time promises of a new ticketing system have been made. The government said it would go to market for a provider to offer similar services back in 2017, allocating more than $7 million in the budget. The move was informed by a study tour of the US and Canada taken by then Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris. However the project never progressed. Opposition transport spokesman Mark Parton said the government talked a big game when it came to improving services for bus commuters, but didn’t back it up with action. “They say that they want to get more people using the network, but this tells me that they really don’t care,” he said. “From the moment that credit cards could be used on the MyWay system you would instantly open our transport network to thousands of new customers, who are not regular users. “But all of a sudden, they would have the ability to sample the system. “After making all sorts of promises about this earlier in the year, we are now well past the time when a contract was going to be awarded and we are none the wiser on when or if this is going to proceed.” NSW slowly rolled out the use of credit and debit cards to tap on and off from 2017. It was rolled out across the whole Opal ticketing system by September last year.

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