New bus ticketing system delayed

A new electronic bus ticketing system has been delayed until the end of the year.

A new electronic ticketing system for Bay of Plenty buses has been delayed until the end of the year.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is one of nine New Zealand councils that have joined together in a consortium to introduce the new cross-boundary ticketing system which will replace the current ageing technology.

It was originally expected that the new Regional Consortium Integrated Ticketing System would be in operation on Bayhopper buses by the end of May, however the roll-out has been delayed.

Similar to other electronic card systems in larger metropolitan centres, RITS will allow passengers to check and top up their balances online.

A tag on and tag off system will make it easier for passengers, and provide information about how passengers travel on the network, allowing councils to plan services better to meet users’ needs.

Buses in the region have already been pre-wired and hardware installed to accept the new system, including the Western Bay of Plenty fleet which will be replaced by a new fleet in December when NZ Bus takes over the existing contracts held by Go Bus, Reesby Rotorua Ltd, Bethlehem Coachlines and Uzabus.

Garry Maloney, transport policy manager for BOPRC, says the hardware will be taken out of the existing fleet and installed in the new fleet at a cost of about $50,000.

“There is an extra cost involved because we do have to wire another lot of buses.”

Garry says the council planned for the risk there could be a change in bus contractor for the Western Bay region that would require extra installations.

“At the time, we judged that the benefits to the customer that would come from operating the new system across the current service out-weighed the potential additional cost.”

Garry says the regional consortium has advised the ticketing system supplier of additional costs caused by the delay in the roll-out of the new system and is negotiating a contract variation to offset those costs.