The Government has announced a new payment system for public transport across Aotearoa, increasing options for paying for a trip.
Kiwis will have the option of paying for public transport with their debit card, credit card, or digital payment method as well as still being able to use a pre-paid transit card once the new system is rolled out.
The new payment system, dubbed ‘the National Ticketing Solution’ (NTS), will be introduced from 2024 across New Zealand’s different public transport authorities. It will roll out in stages starting with Environment Canterbury.
“This is a key milestone in the journey to grow public transport use by providing a single payment system and a range of easy-to-use payment methods, no matter where you are in the country,” Transport Minister Michael Wood said. “The payment system will be convenient, easy to use, and offer a consistent customer experience.”
Wood said daily, weekly and monthly fare caps can be applied automatically through the new system.
He also said the move will help deliver “linked up public transport networks across the country”, with people able to use the same payment method across regions without having to use cash or buy a transit card for each region.
Waka Kotahi have signed a contract with American company Cubic Transportation Systems for the system’s development.
A participation agreement has been reached with Auckland Transport, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Environment Canterbury, Waka Kotahi, and a group of ten medium and smaller regional councils that currently use the Bee Card.
“The NTS will be an enabler for change…The local authorities saw the benefits that the NTS can provide to the decarbonisation and economic development of their regions,” Wood said. “Through improved access and increased patronage of public transport, roads will become less congested, safer and we will reduce our emissions.”
Greater Auckland director Matt Lowrie told 1News it wasn’t the first time we’ve tried a national system.
“HOP, that we have here (in Auckland) was meant to be the original National Ticketing System, and then there’s been issues that have come along the way, partly because some parts of the country didn’t like that it was in Auckland first,” he said.
“So having a National Ticketing System has always been a goal and it will be good to actually have it rolled out.
“The challenge is going to be, as this rolls out, there’s going to be disruption for users, we’ve got to replace existing ticketing, cards, gates and what have you…so those will be the challenges, is how we do that.”
Auckland Transport’s interim CEO Mark Lambert said “this is a brilliant day”.
He said the Government via Waka Kotahi will paying for the “core system” and contributing to the transition costs, but Auckland Transport will also be contributing to some of the equipment costs to replace existing ticketing gates, for example.
“That’s standard across New Zealand for all local government.
“National ticketing will be rolled out in Auckland by the end of 2025.”