NSW buys old Brisbane bus kit after Tcard failure

NSW transport has bought 300 old magnetic stripe ticketing machines to replace the defunct Tcard system.

NSW transport has bought 300 old magnetic stripe ticketing machines to replace the defunct Tcard system.

The machines, which were no longer required by Brisbane's transport network, will be used on buses from the Kingsgrove depot. The buses in question had previously used the cancelled Tcard, and will now revert to the same system used by the rest of Sydney's buses.

A spokesperson for the NSW Transport Minister's office admitted buying old technology from another state was bad publicity, but added: "There's not much we can do about it."

The old machines still work very well, according to the spokesperson, and will be able to operate until a new ticketing system is introduced.

"State Transit's ticket validation system consistently performs at higher than 99 percent availability, which is better than the key performance indicators written into the maintenance contract," State transit acting CEO Peter Rowley said in a statement.

Despite reports the system is on the verge of collapse due to problems with maintaining the old machines, State Transit says it has backup hardware.

"Each bus depot holds a stock of spare machines, with enough spares to ensure all peak hour buses enter service with a full complement of working equipment," Rowley said.

The maintenance contract held by ERG Group -- the firm contracted to develop the Tcard -- is coming up for renewal, but State Transit would not comment on who might win it. "The future of State Transit's maintenance contract is a commercial matter," Rowley said.

When a Tcard replacement system could be feasibly introduced is still up in the air according to the Minister's office.

The spokesperson said: "The government has convened an expert panel to determine the short, medium and long term future of the electronic ticketing project."

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