No winners out of Tcard cancellation

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No winners out of Tcard cancellation

The decision by the NSW Government to cancel the contract for the Tcard will further hamper the ability of Government to attract Sydney commuters back onto public transport, claims the executive director of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, Patrica Forsythe.

The Sydney Chamber of Commerce has described the Government’s decision to scrap the Tcard “as one that leaves no winners” even if the NSW Government is successful in its claim to recover funds from the Tcard contractor, ITSC – a subsidiary of ERG.

The NSW Government announced its plans to terminate its contract with the developers of the Tcard on January 23.

The Public Transport Ticketing Corporation (PTTC) will join an expert group from across Government to begin scoping out next steps for a new system and report back in mid 2008. The group will comprise officers from the PTTC, Ministry of Transport, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Treasury and an independent advisor.

The PTTC is working to minimise disruption as a result of the decision. As such, trials for the Tcard Bus service and the Interim School Student Transport System will cease. All participants in the Tcard Bus trial will have their balances fully refunded.

“This is a major blow for Sydney. An integrated ticketing system is a key ingredient in getting Sydneysiders back into public transport and off congested roads,” Forsythe said. “The recovery of $95 million in contract costs is a poor substitute for an integrated ticketing system that actually works."

According to the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, the Government has invested a decade's worth of time and energy into developing the failed system.

“Sydney can simply not afford to be left behind with another decade of development on this project. The Premier must take personal charge of this issue to ensure Sydney gets a viable and attractive integrated transport system as a matter of priority," Forsythe said.

The Sydney Chamber of Commerce is calling on the NSW Government to examine the complexity of the Sydney transport fare structure before going out to tender for a new card system.

“An investigation into what has caused the continual delay of the system may reveal that we aren’t as far off from a fully integrated ticketing system than it may appear at the moment," Forsythe said. "The Tcard trials have identified that there is complexity to fare charges in Sydney that should be simplified. If these complexities can be removed or simplified we will be a significant step closer to an integrated transport system.”

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