New system to allow Kiwis to pay for train, bus by phone or credit card

The government has announced a new payment system for public transport across Aotearoa, increasing payment options for a trip.

Kiwis will have the option to pay for public transport with their debit card, credit card or digital payment method, while still being able to use a prepaid transport 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 various public transport authorities. It will take place in stages starting with Environment Canterbury.

“This is a key step in the journey to increase the use of public transport by providing a single payment system and a range of easy-to-use payment methods, wherever you are in the country,” said said Transport Minister Michael Wood. “The payment system will be convenient, easy to use and provide a consistent customer experience.”

Wood said daily, weekly and monthly rate caps can be applied automatically through the new system.

He also said the move will help provide “connected public transport networks across the country”, with people able to use the same payment method in all regions without having to use cash or buy a public transport card for each region.

Waka Kotahi signed a contract with the American company Cubic Transportation Systems for the development of the system.

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 currently using the Bee Card.

“The NTS will be a catalyst for change…Local authorities have seen the benefits that the NTS can bring to the decarbonization and economic development of their regions,” Wood said. “With better access and increased ridership on public transport, the roads will become less congested, safer and we will reduce our emissions.”

Greater Auckland manager Matt Lowrie told 1News this is not the first time we have tried a national system.

“HOP, which we have here (in Auckland) was supposed to be the original national ticketing system, and then there were issues that arose along the way, partly because some parts of the country didn’t like not that it’s Auckland first,” he said.

“So having a national ticketing system has always been a goal and it would be nice to roll it out.

“The challenge is going to be, as this unfolds there’s going to be disruption to users, we need to replace ticketing, cards, gates and whatever you have…so those will be the challenges, that’s how we do it.”

Auckland Transport Acting CEO Mark Lambert said “it’s been a brilliant day”.

He said the government, through Waka Kotahi, will pay for the “basic system” and contribute transition costs, but Auckland Transport will also contribute some of the equipment costs to replace existing ticketing gates, for example.

“This is the standard in New Zealand for all local governments.

“National ticketing will be rolled out to Auckland by the end of 2025.”

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