February 22, 2007

Fullers prepares to trial smart card ticketing

One of our island newspapers reported:
Fullers is getting ready to start trials of a new smart card ticketing system that may see passengers pre-paying fares and receiving special offers at the click of a button.
Fullers chief executive officer Doug Hudson announced plans for the card to members of the Ferry Users Group (FUG) at a meeting on Friday, last week, and discussed using their help with trials in May.
The system will allow a much more flexible charging structure and provide possibilities not currently available, such as variations in fare structure on different sailings, special discounts for regular ferry users, and online payments for tickets.
Hudson said Stagecoach had already been trialling the card on its bus services in Wellington but the new system would be the first of its kind in Auckland and only the second to be trialled nationwide.
The new system would involve staff using portable “swipe” machines for the cards, which would enable fares to be collected and might also be used for purchasing drinks and food on board.
He said a two-month trial period would be needed to collect data on monthly and 40-trip tickets and to find out how the system would work best for the company and its passengers.
“The trial would last for two to three months but it will take another three or four months after that for us to scope the project.
“We won’t know what the options are until we find out what the customers want and their usage patterns. At the moment, we’re kind of second guessing,” he added.
I think that's not a bad idea per se. It should also be expanded priority boarding, free refreshments and a Koru Club for cardholders. After all, if you're spending $3,600 a year on a transport company, you would expect to be treated as a first class customer, no?

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