Ritchies: No Urgency To Join Integrated Ticket

Mathew Dearnaley reports in the Herald

Bus operators Ritchies Transport and Howick and Eastern said they were still investigating various options for joining the scheme, and were unlikely to sign up in time for the rugby cup.

Ritchies director Andrew Ritchie said the ticketing machines on his 200 or so Auckland buses were relatively new, and he saw no urgency to join the scheme until restructured fares become available as a sequel to the ticketing project.

Ritchies operates the hugely successful Northern Busway, so getting Ritchies on board is pivotal to the success of an integrated ticket.

Again, it is disappointing that a huge amount of effort is going into technical solutions to support ticketing products that should be redundant.

Take 10 trip (multi-journey) tickets for example.  Users have to buy blocks of 10 tickets for preset stages.  You can currently use your GoRider card for this.  But if your bus trip goes 3 stages and your multi-journey ticket is good for two stages, then you have to pay for the extra stage with cash.  Similarly you lose money if you only travel 2 stages on a 3 stage ticket. The only reason that people buy these inconvenient tickets are because the tickets are heavily discounted, especially for tertiary students.  Implementing a 10 trip ticket on a GPS “tag on / tag off” system like the new integrated ticket is problematic.  You have to have logic to know how much extra to charge the customer if they override the preset number of stages, and deduct this amount from the card on exit.

This is complexity we don’t need. These same discounts could easily be applied to” stored value” fares.

The sooner we get on to a simplified fare structure that includes the Northern Busway in Auckland, the better.

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