Qld to replace Go card with smartphone, bank card tokens

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Qld to replace Go card with smartphone, bank card tokens

Will let travellers pay with BYO contactless methods.

Queenslanders will soon be able to rid of their Go cards and pay for public transport fares with a contactless token in their smartphone or bank cards, following an overhaul of the state's ticketing system.

The electronic Go card was developed by Cubic Transportation Systems under a $134 million contract in 2003, and uses contactless technology to tap on and off at the start and end of a journey on the TransLink public transport network.

But the Cubic contract is about to expire, and the Queensland Transport department wants to replace the system with something more modern.

The state first asked the market for examples of types of new technology it could deploy mid-last year.

Tender documents released this week reveal it has decided to offer Queensland public transport users the ability to pay for fares via the contactless chip in their smartphone or bank card.

It is preparing to appoint a new supplier for up to 15 years to deliver the 'next-generation ticketing solution'.

"We are aware that considerable technological advances have occurred since the development of our card-based system more than a decade ago," the department wrote.

"Our recent market testing indicates account-based AFC [automated fare collection] solutions are becoming increasingly the choice of some of the world’s major public transport operators."

The contactless tokens already available in traveller's smartphones and bank debit and credit cards would be linked back to a single Transport account.

The department has specificed EMV technology and near-field communications as well as contactless smart cards as technologies it would support.

The state plans to also issue contactless tokens for those who don't want to bring their own. It expects these will be available for purchase at rail and busway stations, online, through a mobile app, on board vehicles, at retail outlets and ticket windows.

Only long-life state-issued tokens will be contactless. Short-life tokens will likely be paper tickets. Accounts attached to the tokens can be either anonymous or registered, the department said.

The department will first replace the Go card ticketing system in South East Queensland and will later look at rolling out the replacement across other major regional cities and towns.

It expects to finalise a contact with the chosen supplier by March 2017.

The Go card currently funds more than 85 percent of all trips on the South East Queensland public transport network. There are 6 million cards currently in use, and the cards represent 89 percent of total transport revenue.

TransLink is expecting to take in $400 million from fares in FY14/15.

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