Ken Griffin in the Sunday Business Post tell us that the two state-owned transport companies look set to bring in new smartcard systems that passengers will not be able to use for both bus and rail services.
Two state-owned transport companies look set to bring in new smartcard systems that passengers will not be able to use for both bus and rail services.
This is despite an integration scheme for Dublin, which was first announced in 1999.
Dublin Bus and Iarnrod Eireann will introduce their own electronic smartcards with the consent of the Department of Transport.
The department declined to say when integrated ticketing, which will allow passengers to use the same ticket on Dublin Bus, the Dart and Luas, would be introduced, even though it spent €1.5 million on the project last year.
The total cost of the project so far stands at €11 million.
Dublin Bus has already tendered for its scheme, which will cost €400,000 to introduce. It will see the replacement of its current magnetic tickets, which have been in use for almost 20 years.
A company spokeswoman said it had secured the approval of the state’s integrated ticketing project board for the scheme. The board, which was established by the government last August, is the body now responsible for introducing the project.
‘‘This is an essential interim phase in the development of the full scheme. Ultimately the cards will be replaced by the final scheme card,” said the spokeswoman.
The department confirmed that Iarnrod Eireann is set to introduce its own smartcard, which will not be compatible with integrated ticketing.
‘‘An interim smartcard system for a limited number of stations in the greater Dublin area and limited to a small number of products is planned,” said a spokeswoman for the department.
She said this approach had been used by many other cities, where smartcard schemes were rolled out and then integrated.
‘‘The approach allows customers and staff to familiarise themselves with the new technology gradually as the concept is rolled out,” she said.
However, Fine Gael’s transport spokeswoman Olivia Mitchell claimed that the introduction of the different smartcard schemes was down to the unwillingness of public transport providers to take part in integrated ticketing.
‘‘It’s really bizarre. State agencies have sought to subvert the will of the people. The government told them to participate but they have worked against it,” she said.
Mitchell said integrated ticketing was ‘‘dead in the water unless someone takes charge and bangs some heads together.
‘‘If we are ever to get the full benefit of the huge investment in public transport, we must have an integrated ticketing system but I don’t think there is any real plan in place.”