Wednesday, April 03, 2013

National Smart Transport Ticket Needed

While Adam Carey's article on the use of motor vehicle electronic toll tags on public transport was an April fools day joke, the idea has some merit ("E-Tags the go as myki take its toll, lobby group says", The Age, 1 April 2013). A traveler from NSW cannot use their MYKI card interstate, but a motorist can use their e-tag on a toll road interstate. This is not due to an inherent technical incompatibility between the smart card technologies, they all use the same standards. State governments have chosen to block the use of smart tickets interstate to protect their own revenue, inconveniencing the traveling public and increasing cost. If state governments wished them to do so, travelers could use their MYKI from Melbourne interchangeably with Translink go card Brisbane, SmartRider Perth, Metrocard Adelaide, and the future Opal card Sydney.

 The federal government could provide a forum to plan this interchange. The encourage states to cooperate, the federal government could threaten to use its banking powers to open up transport payments to all financial institutions. The contact-less smart cards issued by Australian banks are compatible with the state's ticketing systems and the federal government could require the states to accept these cards under federal banking legislation. Faced with ticketing competition from all banks, states are likely to be willing to cooperate as a second best option.

No comments: