Thursday, May 27, 2010

'SmartCard' - not so smart

More Public Transport Waste

The latest offering from the NSW State government on our public transport is centred on the chest beating of the Premier about how she has been congratulated for intending to purchase the London based “Oyster” ticketing system.

As reported in the SMH (24th May) when the NSW Premier stood in Parliament during question time on Wednesday clutching a letter from the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, she put it to good use. Mr Johnson, the Premier declared, had ‘’saluted” her for the decision to purchase an ”Oyster-style” transport smartcard for Sydney. Technology from it will be used in Sydney’s version.

Of course he “saluted” her. Mr Johnson’s glee is based on the royalty payments of $3.5 million to Transport for London (TfL), the super-department of which he is chairman.

The fees must be paid because the smartcard developer, Cubic, and TfL jointly own some of the intellectual property to be used. But TfL paid just £1 million ($1.75 million) for the full rights to the Oyster card last month. ”Cubic has proposed to build the systems using Oyster technology,” a spokesman for Cubic told the Herald. ”TfL has ownership of intellectual property on some of this technology and rights to revenue from the sale of it to other parties. Under existing contractual agreements Cubic will be making royalty payments of approximately £2 million to TfL.”

Cubic is contracted to operate the smartcard system for 10 years and is expected to begin in 2012 at a cost of about $1.2 billion to implement.

The original $350 million contract with company ERG to develop the TCard was torn up after many delays and the government is suing ERG for $95 million; ERG is countersuing for $200 million.

The thing that makes me laugh most about this situation is that if public transport was free we wouldn’t be having the conversation. We would be saving tax payers the $1.2 Billion it is costing to implement, let alone the (probably) larger than expected costs to maintain the system.

How can people seriously be getting excited about a system that does NOTHING to make our trains, buses or ferries run on time? All this does is lock us into the corporatisation of public transport and allows a more efficiently way to take our money. It beggars belief.

Imagine if they spent $1.2 Billion on addressing capacity shortages……none of this non-sense is needed under a free fare system.

1 comment:

  1. This is the latest information for every person. The huge amount of public transport is wasting in the New Zealand.