Snapper the New Brand for Auckland’s Integrated Ticket?

Despite the press conference before Christmas where it was claimed that the new integrated ticket in Auckland wouldn’t be called Snapper,   and the Herald revealing a $1m publicity budget for the Hop Card, Snapper branding appears to be rolling out in Auckland anyway:

Snapper Car on Khyber Pass

The latest Infratil monthly report states that

Preparation is well advanced on bus fleets of North Star, Waka Pacific, Go West and Metrolink and Snapper is engaged with Auckland Transport to ensure coordination between both party’s customer service teams. Snapper will be available in April 2011, with installation completed by July 2011.

In Auckland over 80 shops now signed to accept Snapper for payment and to provide reload services. The objective of having Snapper available for use on major national branded outlets is also progressing.

So it looks like the cars are being used to roll out to the retailers. Still no word on when Auckland Transport’s Hop branding exercise will commence.

For those not quite up to speed on how integrated ticketing is progressing in Auckland, here is the timeline so far:

2 December 2009: On the eve of the confirmation of an integrated ticketing system for Auckland public transport, unsuccessful tenderer Snapper announces the rollout of Snapper on NZ Bus services, to be completed by the end of 2010. A spokeswoman for ARTA said there would be no public funding for Snapper. Authority chief executive Fergus Gammie called Snapper’s announcement “premature”.

7 December 2009: Auckland Regional Transport Authority sign an $47m contract with Thales to provide integrated electronic ticketing for buses, trains and ferries.

14 December 2009: Brian Rudman cites a confidential paper from Infratil director Paul Ridley-Smith, which states “if Snapper can’t expand into Auckland then its business will be permanently sub-economic and it may have to withdraw from Wellington, where it was introduced 12 months ago.”

16 December 2010: Auckland Transport announce that “Supplementing the contract already in place with Thales, a Participation Agreement has now been signed between Auckland Transport, NZ Bus and Snapper for the introduction of a single smartcard for use on NZ Bus services as part of the Auckland Integrated Ticketing program.

“Interoperable equipment will be deployed onto services run by NZ Bus early next year. Customers of North Star, Waka Pacific, Go West, Metrolink and LINK will use a contactless smartcard which will launch Auckland Transport’s Integrated Ticketing brand.”

“We will be following the deployment of equipment on NZ Bus services with the expansion of Integrated Ticketing on rail and ferry services. We expect the timing for this to be in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup.

“This will be linked to the launch of a travel product specifically for visitors to Auckland which will make public transport an attractive option during the period of the Rugby World Cup. We will be announcing further details of this and other initiatives over the coming months.

“Supporting this participation agreement for bus equipment and ticket deployment, Auckland Transport’s ticketing system partner, Thales is progressing the development of the rail and ferry solutions and the central system.

Bruce Emson, NZ Bus CEO, announces the roll out of the card will commence in March 2011. Programme Director Greg Ellis maintains that the key objective is still to have one card across all modes, and that the new card won’t be called Snapper.

17 December 2010: Ritchies and Howick and Eastern Buses say they are still investigating options, and are unlikely to sign up in time for the Rugby World Cup.

24 December 2010: The Herald runs a story that there is a budget of $1m to publicise the “Hop Card”, which is a “a new electronic ticket for seamless travel on buses, trains and ferries. It refuses to confirm the name until launching an awareness campaign late next month for the $98 million card, although chief operating officer Fergus Gammie has assured Auckland Council’s transport committee that the region’s public transport brand would be prominent on it.”

25 Jan 2011: Work on installation of Thales installed ticket validator machines commences at Mt Albert, Morningside and Mt Eden stations.

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