New Zealand bus
ACCOUNT-BASED: Waka Kotahi is launching the national open loop fare payment system in Canterbury

Public transport users in the New Zealand city of Canterbury will be the first to be able to make contactless fare payments with a new national public transport smartcard or their own credit or debit card using an account-based open loop payments system being introduced by the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

The launch in Canterbury is due in “late 2022” and will mark the first phase of a full national rollout of Waka Kotahi’s national ticketing solution that it plans to complete “before 2026”.

“Current public transport ticketing and payment systems in New Zealand vary considerably in capability and customer experience across buses, ferries and rail,” the agency says.

“Customer expectations about how payments can be made for public transport is changing as Kiwis compare our transport service with other public transport networks around the world. Our current fare collection systems and payment methods nationally, present barriers to people using public transport.

“The different ‘closed loop’ systems operating in New Zealand (using a stored value card for use in specific regions) will be superseded by ‘account-based ticketing’  — solutions that provide wider accessibility for users, customer flexibility, significantly better data, enhanced network management, as well as allowing for future technology innovations.”

The account-based system will “also enable the introduction of ‘open loop’ payments (using credit/debit cards and digital versions such as Google Pay and Apple Pay)”, the agency adds.

Waka Kotahi originally launched its national ticketing programme in 2016 and entered the procurement phase — known as Project Next — in 2018.  

“The preferred supplier is expected to be announced later in 2021,” the agency says.

“Timings are still being agreed as part of the procurement process and at the moment the first implementation is proposed in Canterbury in late 2022, followed closely by Wellington towards the end of 2022 or early 2023; however, this is still subject to change.   

“It is planned that all regions will have transferred to the national solution before 2026.” 

New Zealand to launch national open loop contactless fare payments in 2022 was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.