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NSW puts out feelers for new Tcard, fare restructure

Tcard, or some variant of it, is again on the cards as the NSW government looks to its options for getting Sydney's electronic ticketing back on track.
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Written by Suzanne Tindal on

Tcard, or some variant of it, is again on the cards as the NSW government looks to its options for getting Sydney's electronic ticketing back on track.

A Tcard reader (Credit: Tcard)

A cashless system for the city's public transport had been on its way, supplied by transport systems company ERG Group's subsidiary ITSL, but after delays dogged its implementation, the Transport Minister John Watkins cancelled the project.

Since the project was cancelled, a panel of experts have been working on assessing the options for integrated ticketing.

According to a spokesperson for the Minister, the government has now "agreed in-principle to proceed with an 'Expression of Interest' in the next couple of months to test the market".

The government hopes the responses will allow it to set a time frame for the project.

The spokesperson also said that the government intends to look into Sydney's fare structure following the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal's (IPART) discussion paper (PDF), released earlier this month, which reads:

"IPART's preliminary view is that there is scope to improve the fare structure for most of CityRail's ticket products, so that it is simpler and more consistent and cost-reflective, and can be provided via an electronic ticketing system in the future."

ERG Group had previously claimed that the complicated fare structure had played its part in delaying the delivery of the company's planned system.

The government and ERG Group are currently engaged in court action, with the NSW government trying to recoup around AU$90 million in losses for the failed project, and the ERG Group seeking upwards of AU$200 million in a counter-claim.

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