Wellington will investigate allowing rail commuters to use Snapper cards to pay for their journeys.
Currently, passengers using trains in Wellington must pay either with cash on board or with pre-purchased paper tickets. Bus passengers can use the Snapper smart card.
According to Greater Wellington Council transport committee chair Roger Blakeley, the move to investigate Snapper payments on trains has arisen due to the experience of COVID-19 and the ability of smart cards to be used for contact tracing on public transport.
“As we saw with the alert levels we need to have safe contactless methods of payment available across the region’s network sooner rather than later. Enhancing fare collection efficiency also aligns with the future of national ticketing and the Council’s longstanding vision for a world-class integrated public transport network with high levels of accessibility, quality, reliability and flexibility,” said Blakeley.
Wellington is also looking to prevent revenue loss through the adoption of smarter ticketing.
Customers have also indicated a preference for payments with smart card technology, with satisfaction with payment services higher on buses, where Snapper can be used, than trains, said Metlink general manager Scott Gallacher.
“Our focus is on providing better services to passengers and, in our regular customer satisfaction survey, passengers tell us that convenience of paying is an area we can improve on with 68 per cent of rail passengers currently satisfied compared to 78 per cent with our bus passengers. Clearly there’s room for improvement here and Snapper on rail could have a profound impact,” said Gallacher.
Customer benefits such as fare discounts, faster boarding, and greater convenience and tracking of spend would flow from a smart card system.
A national ticketing solution (NTS) is currently being developed for New Zealand by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) Waka Kotahi and implementing Snapper infrastructure for trains would also allow for the transition to a national ticketing system once it is completed.