Tuesday, July 5, 2016

MyWay rebranding and a feasibility study for an integrated public transport ticket system

Minister Meegan Fitzharis holding a new Transport Canberra MyWay card
One of the most obvious symbols of the new transport approach at the launch of Transport Canberra, was the rebranding of the MyWay cards, with prominent Transport Canberra logos. This is part of a conscious effort to promote an integrated transport service ahead of the introduction of light rail in 2018. It is likely that the Capital Metro, Canberra Metro and ACTION brands may be subsumed into a new public transport brand ahead of the introduction of light rail in 2018. 

The Chief Minister has previously commented upon the need for a new ticketing system in Canberra, and that we may adopt the NSW system, and perhaps be integrated into it.

It has also been government policy since the Capital Metro project was announced, that there be one ticket across both light rail and buses. 

The MyWay card was adopted in 2011 replacing an ancient paper ticket system and a primitive magnetic stripe card system, that had started to experience frequent systemic failures and a resultant loss in revenue. The MyWay card ticketing system was an off the shelf technology and experienced a trouble free introduction in Canberra (paper tickets are still able to be purchased onboard buses, but using a MyWay card is cheaper). The MyWay technology has also been used to collect data on travelling patterns that has been used to plan network and timetable changes. 

Since the introduction of the MyWay card, contactless ticketing technology has improved dramatically, and it is likely that when light rail commences operation in 2018 that a new form of contactless public transport ticketing will be introduced.

The MyWay card still requires a traveller to swipe or tap on and off, that may not be the case with new technologies. They may detect your MyWay card when you are 'near' a reader on a light rail vehicle or bus.

New contactless card, RFID and other technologies allow devices such as a mobile phone to be used for these tasks. They also allow much greater collection of data that can be used for network improvements. The attraction of a card or even an RFID type contactless ticketing system has advantages for users as well, with online payments, balances available online and the ability to cancel a stolen card making them quite attractive, and a vastly superior alternative to having a pocketful of dollar coins on hand. 

The new ticketing system will be an incremental improvement to the MyWay card and it is a sound decision to investigate alternatives now. Making public transport easier for people to use is how we encourage people to use it routinely.

This press release was issued by Minister Meegan Fitzharris on 4 July 2016:

Planning for integrated public transport ticketing system underway - 4 July 2016

“Work is now underway to develop a ticketing feasibility study, which is due for completion later in 2016. The study will identify options to upgrade or replace the current MyWay system that is used for travel on ACTION buses.
“While the MyWay system is well established, it does need an upgrade. Technology is constantly evolving and we need to keep pace with customers’ expectations and use smart technology.  A key priority for the ACT Government is for Canberra to be an innovative, digital city and an integrated ticketing system is an important component of that.
“Exciting and innovative ticketing solutions are already emerging in the market, such as allowing passengers to pay for travel via contactless credit and debit cards, as well as mobile ticketing solutions that include journey planning over multiple transport modes. The feasibility study will explore these new technologies to identify the best outcome for Canberra’s integrated transport system.”
The start of the work coincides with the launch of the ACT’s new public transport agency Transport Canberra, which will make moving around Canberra easier and more convenient.
Minister Fitzharris said in addition to the completion of a ticketing feasibility study, funding in the Budget will be used to commence the delivery of options recommended in the study. 
“As part of the feasibility study, we will also consider installing new ‘add-value’ machines in major bus stations throughout Canberra, to provide better service to bus users and to plan for the integration with light rail ticketing.

“A great public transport system is vital to ensure Canberrans have a quick and reliable way of getting around our city. Completion of the ticketing feasibility study is another step toward the ACT Government’s commitment to deliver a transport system that has one ticket, one fare and one network,” said Minister Fitzharris.  

As well as this website, the facebook group 'Light Rail for Canberra' carries frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news. 

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