The Australian Capital Territory is on the cusp of signing a deal to roll out Perth's smart ticketing system for its buses.
The territory had put out a request for tender to which seven firms had replied and two had been shortlisted, Canberra Times reported in December.
One system has now emerged as the winner, according to Tom Elliot, executive director enterprise services for the Department of Territory and Municipal Services, speaking at the territory's budget estimates committee last month.
"It is smartcard technology, the same as you see in Perth. In fact, it is the Perth system that we are purchasing," he said. "Some of the componentry is from a company in the UK that also sells into the Hong Kong market, so most of the Octopus card stuff is the sort of technology we are buying," he said.
Although Elliot didn't go into specific company names, Perth signed a contract in 2003 with Downer EDI to implement a Wayfarer system. The technology was ready for use in 2007. Parkeon bought Wayfarer in 2007.
The ACT Government was just about to sign on the dotted line for the system, according to Elliot. "The contracts are being exchanged with the preferred tenderer," he said. "They have not been signed off but they are there ... I think we are at the point of some really minor matters. I would expect that a contract signature date is imminent."
A spokesperson for ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope's office was unable to respond to queries at the time of writing on which supplier the planned deal would be with.
The territory's target date for the $8 million implementation was June 2010, according to Elliot, although he said that it might not be a full implementation. Exactly what would be included in the roll-out would depend on some discussions the department was having with the Department of Education and universities on having a joint-use card, where students' ID card becomes their transport card. Pension card holders would also be a target for the first phase.
The tag-on/tag-off system would provide better data about which people got on and off buses at which stop that will allow the department to better use bus resources, according to Elliot.
It wouldn't happen overnight, however. "It will take a while to get all that data in, because it will take a while for everyone to adopt a smartcard. I think it will be a case of starting to use the system when you can; we will not be pushing it down people's throats. There will be a transition period, but when we get everyone using the same technology and the same card, we will be able to map that data with a high degree of accuracy. "
Elliot thought it would be possible to get 50 per cent of the Canberra market onto the card in the first three months and 70 per cent by December 2010.
NSW is currently tendering for a ticketing system. It had a shortlist of three companies, but one, the Glide Consortium, dropped out earlier this month. South Australia is also out to tender for a system. Victoria's Myki is in advanced roll-out. Brisbane has a working system.