Second attempt at Smartcard system for New South Wales
#1
The Herald reports on the winner of the new tender to implement a Smartcard ticketing system for New South Wales.
Quote:Pearl Consortium, which includes Cubic Transportation Systems, to deliver the $1.2 billion ticket system.

Cubic has less than three years to get the electronic ticket launched across Sydney, Newcastle, the Hunter, Wollongong, Illawarra and the Blue Mountains.
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/shell-of-a-tas...-s02z.html

Daniel Bowen from Victoria's Public Transport Users' Association adds, "Hope for their sake it's not T-Card (or Myki) mark II". Well, expecting it completed in three years suggests that it will be.

The Herald launches an attack on the winning tenderer immediately.
Quote:Cubic Transportation Systems had won a $1.2 billion contract for TCard as part of a group called the Pearl Consortium. But the Herald can reveal that Cubic sued the government 10 years ago in an action that helped prevent delivery of the Tcard by its rival ERG and exposed allegations of improper behaviour by Cubic.
...
Mr Campbell confirmed he had met Mr Egan and the president of Cubic, Steve Shewmaker, in January last year, five months after expressions of interests were called for the second version of Tcard. Mr Campbell defended the meeting, saying the ''probity auditor for the electronic ticketing project was there''.

In 2001, Cubic launched a court action against the government but the case exposed an improper relationship between its then managing director and a RailCorp employee alleged to have leaked tender secrets to Cubic. Ruling against Cubic in 2002, the NSW Supreme Court judge Michael Adams found it was ''guilty of reprehensible conduct'' and had shown a ''lack of good faith and positive dishonesty'' in the tender process.

Mr Shewmaker said last night: ''That issue is ancient history and I don't intend to revisit the past. It's time to move on.
...
The managing director of VIX ERG, Steve Gallagher, said Tcard would be operating today ''if it was not for the lack of co-operation from the NSW government''. ''The total Tcard contract value of $350 million represents fair value and an enormous saving on the reported $1.2 billion for the Pearl Consortium project,'' he said. ''It is also interesting that since this time one of the successful consortium members, Cubic, have acquired and licensed ERG technology and operations contracts in San Francisco and more than 20 staff in Perth - several of whom had key roles in Tcard.''
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/enterpr...-s0w2.html

In a thread on MyZone, I queried whether there was an urgent lack of OneLink equipment such that the existing system couldn't be used. I realise that equipment and hence time is running short. However, requiring the project to complete in three years seems to be asking to fail.

It's been suggested that MyZone simplifies the ticketing system. MyZone applies to Sydney only and alters the fares more than the fare-calculation regime. If you wanted to devise a ticketing system that was suited to fast development of a Smartcard ticketing system, I'd suggest making tenderer devise the fare-calculation regime part of the project.
"I know politicians are gonna be judged on everything they say, but sometimes, in the heat of discussion, you go a little bit further ... which is one of the reasons why the statements that need to be taken ... as gospel truth is those carefully prepared scripted remarks." Tony Abbott
#2
dateline= Wrote:Daniel Bowen from Victoria's Public Transport Users' Association adds, \"Hope for their sake it's not T-Card (or Myki) mark II\". Well, expecting it completed in three years suggests that it will be.

Daniel Bowen is annoying enough in his home state of Victoria. Where does he get off sticking his oar into NSW PT affairs?
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#3
Bowen's comment was from the #fds02z channel on Twitter. While we are on Twitter, an S. Hamilton tweets,
dateline= Wrote:The American Cubic Transportation has a history of I.T. failures and court action MBTA, TfL Oyster

So why in Sweet Jesus did NSW increase the tender from $300m to $1.2billion, why did London increase from GBP100m to GBP2.4billion

The MBTA (Massachusetts) tender process was also subject to court action and Cubic lost to NXP based Mifare used in MEL,PER,BNE

Someone also posted a link to an article on IT Wire with a more unlikely sounding deadline.
Quote:The new system will reportedly allow commuters to 'tap on and tap off' from Sydney buses, trains and ferries as they do in other states .... NSW's new system is slated to go into operation by the end of 2012.
http://www.itwire.com/it-industry-news/s...d-contract

Actually, let's get it from "the horse's mouth"....
dateline= Wrote:Commuters will be able to top up their accounts online or arrange to have automatic deductions made from a linked bank account or credit card. They will also be able to load cash on the card through retail outlets.

It will be rolled out across the greater Sydney public transport network, including in Newcastle and the Hunter region, as well as Wollongong and the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains.

We anticipate the system will begin to be rolled out onto public transport by the end of 2012. [Transport Minister Campbell said]

The Pearl Consortium will use the proven technology of the Oyster Card in London to develop a specific electronic ticketing system for Greater Sydney.
"There were two proponents who made it to the final stages of this project, and it was an extremely competitive process,' Mr Campbell said. "The second proponent Scheidt and Bachhman Gateway team also submitted a substantial bid and we thank them for their proposal."
http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/sites/de...keting.pdf(underline added)
"To roll out" is the verb that people used when they don't want to commit to something but want to sound like they're making a commitment.

I'd interpret the press release as saying that installation of equipment will commence by the end of 2012. The actual outcome may be that they start pencilling where they'll put the equipment in 2012 but the installation commences in 2013.
#4
(13-Apr-2010, 02:14 PM)Speed link Wrote:While we are on Twitter, an S. Hamilton tweets,
Quote:The American Cubic Transportation has a history of I.T. failures and court action MBTA, TfL Oyster


So why in Sweet Jesus did NSW increase the tender from $300m to $1.2billion, why did London increase from GBP100m to GBP2.4billion

The MBTA (Massachusetts) tender process was also subject to court action and Cubic lost to NXP based Mifare used in MEL,PER,BNE

To answer your last question first; because they engaged the services of a politically influential lobbyist. (An ex State Treasurer)
The present Sydney system is by Cubic.
It has always been my belief that failure of ERG was partly due to an inability to incorporate the new system into the proprietary Cubic software.  There were other reasons as well.
I understand that Cubic have purchased a licence on the ERG software.

London's Oyster is full of bugs.
1. Nowhere is it publicly advised, but there is a 2 hour time limit on journeys. Exceed 2 hours and you cop a penalty fare. I managed to get a refund and the process is an interesting story in itself.
2. On my last trip (20 minutes) I copped a penalty. Despite the best efforts of the station staff at Victoria we could not get the system to calculate correctly. After much consideration I think the following happened: I KNOW that the computer clock at Victoria was 1 hour fast. I suspect that the clock at the station I started at was 1 hour SLOW.  Therefore your 2 hours is fully used before you reach the platform. I will be in London next week and the first thing I will do is read my card to confirm this.
3. If you try to TAG IN too soon after TAGGING OUT, the new TAG IN will not register.

If London's Oyster is copied in Sydney the squeels from the public will be defening and they will not take too long to start.
It took a team of professionals to build the Titanic and a lone amateur to build the Ark
#5
Have to disagree with some of the previous posts, sounds like NSW is on the right track here.  Cubic were the implementers of the TransLink "Go Card" here in QLD, and after some teething problems the technology works fine. I've been using mine for months now, on trains and buses, without any problems. 

Cubic have implemented a lot of these systems now - New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Vancouver, London, Singapore, Bangkok & Brisbane to name a few.

In Brisbane, there have been criticisms of the fare structure, but that's a separate issue to the technology.  The issues in London are similar - fare structure, and poor choice of thresholds and time limits for penalty fares, etc.  We've had one ongoing problem in QLD: the penalty fare for not tagging off is less than many fares - so people tag on at Robina and then get off at an 'open' station like Southbank without tagging off, thereby incurring a $5 penalty rather than the larger correct fare. If the penalty fare was set to be the same as the fare from the tag on location to the city, it would discourage this kind of fraud.

I actually think the biggest gain from the card is on the bus system.  It reduces boarding times drastically. It sure is nice when riding the bus to see everyone board & tag on in a few seconds, rather than waiting for people to fumble with change.  I've even seen residents of the old people's home that's on my local bus route use their "seniors go card" without any problems, which puts the lie to the myth that smartcards are intimidating to seniors.

When Go Card was first introduced, I was a sceptic, but using it has turned my opinion around completely.  I hope Sydney's version works as well as the QLD one.
Rail should be the backbone of our transport system. That fact that it is not is an indictment of the systematic failure of transport planning and policy in this country.
#6
The Herald reports on how the Transport for London corporation will receive royalties for development of New South Wales' ticketing system.
dateline= Wrote:Kristina Keneally stood in Parliament during question time on Wednesday clutching a letter from the mayor of London ... Mr Johnson, ...  had ''saluted'' her for the decision to purchase an ''Oyster-style'' transport smartcard for Sydney. Technology from it will be used in Sydney's version
...
Conveniently not disclosed by the Premier, though, is the real reason for Mr Johnson's glee: royalty payments of $3.5 million to Transport for London
...
Transport for London paid just £1 million ($1.75 million) for the full rights to the Oyster card last month. ''Cubic has proposed to build the systems using Oyster technology,'' a spokesman for Cubic told the Herald. ''TfL has ownership of intellectual property on some of this technology and rights to revenue from the sale of it to other parties.
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/how-ke...-w42p.html

This sounds like it would be less of a big deal in Victoria, where Melbourne's trains are run by Hong Kong's railway operator and the trams by Paris'.
"I know politicians are gonna be judged on everything they say, but sometimes, in the heat of discussion, you go a little bit further ... which is one of the reasons why the statements that need to be taken ... as gospel truth is those carefully prepared scripted remarks." Tony Abbott
#7
I have just returned from a visit to London and can confirm that Cubic's system for TFL continues to be full of bugs.

TFL will no longer talk face to face with their customers requesting refunds for overcharges. The issues have to be presented online to the TFL website  or you wait in an intermanally long telephone que to speak to a person. I did get lucky and did get my refund in a timely manner, but it was as much good luck as anything.
It took a team of professionals to build the Titanic and a lone amateur to build the Ark
#8
After the Herald alleged that the Transport Minister had said that there were no plans for MyZone to be recognised on Sydney's trams or monorail, the government released these words.
Quote:Minister for Transport John Robertson today said the NSW Government expects light rail to be part of Sydney’s electronic ticketing network, along with trains, government buses and ferries, and private buses.
“Electronic ticketing will allow commuters to tap on and tap off between different modes of transport,” Mr Robertson said.
http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/sites/de...y_2010.pdf

With Melbourne/Myki looking at removing the need to scan off when alighting from trams, the words "and tap off" attracted criticism from some tram enthusiasts.
#9
After a change of government, the project continues and someone raises the "government can track your movements" warning.
Quote:While civil libertarians are worried about how the information would be used, a spokeswoman for the NSW Department of Transport said it would be managed under the Privacy Act and Sydney commuters could choose to remain anonymous.

''As with e-tags, there will be a record of where and when cards were used, however commuters will not need to register their card,'' the spokeswoman said.

The head of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Cameron Murphy, said any personal information recorded had to be rigorously protected. ... He said police should have to apply for a court order to view commuter travel information.

At present, only periodical tickets bought online are automatically registered, so they can be replaced if lost or stolen.
...
The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, said that by the end of next year ferry users would be trialling the system. ... Ms Berejiklian would not comment on how the smartcard would be priced but said Transport for NSW - the integrated transport authority to be formally created when Parliament next sits - would oversee it.
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technol...1hiyd.html

More interesting is that "by the end of 2012" goal. Sufficient equipment will be installed and that it can be used by ferry passengers.
#10
An anonymous Railcorp spokesman champions a smartcard based system as a way to reduce fare-evasion. This contrasts with Victoria, where Myki haters incited fear that fare-evasion would skyrocket with the new technology.
Quote:Passengers who use smartcards to travel on the train network will have to swipe on and swipe off, at which point the fare is deducted from stored value on the card. But those who do not swipe off at the station where they disembark will have a higher, default amount deducted ... ''This will make it more difficult for people to evade paying the fare for the entire length of their journey,'' a RailCorp spokeswoman said.
...
Fare evasion across the CityRail network ... an increase of almost 20 per cent on 2009 ... fare evasion was highest on the South Line, where last year 5.6 per cent of passengers cheated the system. The rate was higher at weekends than on weekdays for every line, the survey found.
...
Of the 307 stations on the CityRail network, only 47 have ticket gates. But RailCorp says more than 90 per cent of passengers pass through them. ... When Liverpool station in Sydney introduced ticket gates in 1999, its revenue increased by 40 per cent in one week.
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technol...1htzt.html

Liverpool is also likely to have seen a decrease in fare compliance in the 1990s with fewer staff checking tickets. The barriers would have improved compliance by requiring people either to insert a ticket or to leap the barriers. Still those people must have been either travelling to stations without ticket-barriers or buying tickets for journeys that didn't go as far as Liverpool.
"I know politicians are gonna be judged on everything they say, but sometimes, in the heat of discussion, you go a little bit further ... which is one of the reasons why the statements that need to be taken ... as gospel truth is those carefully prepared scripted remarks." Tony Abbott


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